Minorities in visual culture –  focus Romania

Anniversary of 100 years of national state

Exhibitional and research project, travelling.

Post communism historiographies studies are reflecting the need of better understating the relations between the Romanians and different ethno-cultural communities living in the same geographical area. In some cases, historiography was ideologically used in favor of nationalism and xenophobia. These relations can be followed and found in visual culture produced both by ethnical minorities and by the majority.

Continuing with the formation of national European states, the concepts of ethnical national majorities, minorities, multiculturalism were staging different visual approaches from radical nationalist to tolerant recognition, following different trends of Romanization, inclusion, integration, positive discrimination, autonomy, discrimination and anti-Semitic behaviors.

The ethnical minorities were defined in relation and in some cases in opposition with a majority of citizens of a young nation as Romania, fighting for centuries for their independence and state recognition.

Minorities in visual culture, focus Romania is researching the continuous historical balance between the national myth and minorities contribution from 1918 Romania’s Great Union (”Marea Unire”) through the troubled historical last almost hundred years.

Language, religion, culture and heritage have been strong factors shaping the profound characteristics of both ethnical minorities and national majority, besides recognition, rights and obligations.

Several ethnic minorities can be seen in different types or categories: transnational European minorities, national neighbor minorities and emigration minorities.

Transnational European minorities are the minorities that can be found in many other different European states. Jews, Gypsies and Chinese are the most common ones, followed by Ruthenians, Tatars, Lipovens.

Different particularities apply: the case of Gypsies as a population without history that was incorporated into the hegemonic history practically lead to their invisibility as an individual group and a massive lack of political impact. They not appear in the forming of the Romanian configuration, past or present. They were not historically considered as an ethnic category in Romania as were the Jews, Saxons or Turks.

National neighbor minorities are included in the territories of the present European states, which have dilated or contracted along the last 100 years of the history. Ethnic communities neighboring border territories are usually well represented. Therefore, in Romania we can found the Germans, Turks, Hungarians, Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians or Russians.

Emigration minorities are the result of waves of emigration due to different historical contexts and political, economic and historical phenomena. Therefore, we would have in Romania representatives of Syrians and Arabs.

In different historical representations, the exotic approach was used in revealing and, in a way, conserving, the differences between ethnical minorities in the mainframe of the national state.

In many cases, it does not matter the size of the minority (in percent) but the history of the relationship between the majority and that minority community.

The minorities have largely contributed to the multiculturalism and richness diversity of the cultural heritage.

The research ”Minorities in visual culture, focus Romania” explores the rich dialog that exits between visual representation and political and social context in the mainframe of the anniversary of 100 years from the Great Union (”Marea Unire”) in Romania.

Paul Miracovici, Balcic – un colț de Orient, 1937, afiș, 100 × 70 cm

Paul Miracovici, Balcic – un colț de Orient, 1937, afiș, 100 × 70 cm


The project takes part of the programme DARE – Documenting, Archiving, Revaluing and Exhibiting the art produced in Romania in 1945-1990. The projects belongs to a series of researches analyzing the relationship of Romanian artists to different political ideologies and social climates within the historic periods post-war and communist, 1946-1989. Furthermore, DARE includes a series of researches, exhibitions and conferences aiming to historically and culturally reevaluate the phenomena of communism, in the light of the 30-year anniversary of 1989 Romanian Revolution in 2019. So far, no private or public institution in Romania has assumed an initiative of research recovery of the cultural and artistic segments for this historic period of time.


Exhibitional and research project, travelling. Working calendar:

Bruxelles, partner European Confederation of Youth Clubs – 15.08-25.09.2016

Roma Museum Bucharest, Romania – February–April 2017

Art Museum Cluj, Romania – May–August 2017 (pending)

Art Museum Craiova, Romania – September -November 2017 (pending)

County History Museum Brasov, Romania  – February–April 2018

National Museum Brukenthal Sibiu, Romania – May–August 2018 (pending)

Olso Intercultural Museum, Norway – September 2018 – January 2019 (pending)

National Art Museum Romania, Bucharest (MNAR) – February–September 2019 (pending)

Art Museum Baia Mare, Romania – November 2019 – April 2020


The project is to also export certain thematics which are too generous in content and need more focus. One offspring is the project Gypsy, Turk, Tatar, Jewish Women in Romanian Arts.