Eugen Raportoru: The Abduction from the Seraglio & Roma Women: Performative Strategies of Resistance

Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition

Curated by Ilina Schileru

Commissioned by the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture


Exibition Site: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti | Campo S. Stefano 2945

Opening Event: 22 April 2022

Public Dates: 23 April – 27 November 2022

Commissioners: ERIAC, Zeljko Jovanovic, Timea Junghaus


ERIAC: European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture is proud to present Eugen Raportoru: The Abduction from the Seraglio, accompanied by Roma Women: Performative Strategies of Resistance, comprising an official collateral event at the 59th International Art Exhibition, curated by Ilina Schileru, as its fourth edition of a Roma presence at La Biennale. This solo show of an artist of Roma origin, presented in collaboration with a group of Roma women artists and intellectuals reflecting upon, questioning and offering alternative perspectives on the main theme of “The Abduction”, represents a new milestone in both Roma and European history (of art).


Among the most recognised Romanian painters of his generation, Eugen Raportoru (Bucharest, 1961) has always taken pride in his Roma origins. His recent experiments in installation narrate past memories from his childhood and often contain self-referential elements through which he creates a hidden genealogy of the unspoken truths of domestic environments. The exhibition comprises a series of site-specific installations composed of numerous household objects inherent to the (Roma) domestic space, while a selection of paintings retraces the fraught trajectory of oriental carpets in Eastern European households. The series is grounded in an understanding of the significance of – and bearing witness to – the narratives that such objects embody, as well as their capacity to inform and reflect Roma culture, Roma lives and the distribution of Roma knowledge.


Getaway, a public installation by artist Daniel Baker, placed outside the venue of Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, provides further context with a symbolic object reflecting on mobility and encampment, highlighting the role of décor within Roma society and the construction of Roma identities.


Abduction in this context is charged fundamentally with patriarchal projections onto the female (and the Other) body. Roma Women: Performative Strategies of Resistance, a series of interventions, actions and performances, reflects on the double minority position that Roma women occupy. The audience is invited to enter a resonatory chamber, and to listen and learn from their voices and stories.


The artists invite the viewer to meditate on the specific time-space configuration of notions of identity and history, as well as trauma, hope, the body and affect. Focusing a magnifying glass on the ongoing mystification, exoticism, feminisation, sexualisation and criminalisation of the Roma body in western society, The Abduction invites a critical interrogation of the links between power and realism, violence and the picturesque.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue, which, in addition to the curators’ texts, includes essays by Roma feminist scholar Ethel Brooks, Roma artist and curator Daniel Baker, and Director of the Romanian Contemporary Art Museum (MNAC), Călin Dan. Catalogue publication is realised with the support of Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (UNAR).


With special contributions from:

Ethel Brooks, Ioanida Costache, Mihaela Drăgan, Carmen Gheorghe, Delia Grigore, Angéla Kóczé, Dijana Pavlovic, Erasma Vicenzina, Alina Șerban



The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC), as a joint initiative of the Council of Europe, the Open Society Foundations, and the Roma Leaders’ initiative – the Alliance for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, has a unique mandate as the transnational, European-level organisation for the recognition of Roma through the means of arts and culture.


ERIAC offices in Berlin and Belgrade support a broad network of Roma individuals and organisations working in the fields of arts and culture, giving space to a contemporary art gallery and educational programmes. ERIAC exists to increase the self-esteem of Roma and to decrease negative prejudice of the majority population towards the Roma through arts, culture, history, and language education.



Collateral Event of the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia would not be possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors.

Council of Europe, The Alliance for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, Open Society Foundations, Federal Foreign Office Germany, ERSTE Stiftung, Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali (UNAR), Stiftung KAI DIKHAS, Institutul Cultural Român (ICR), Istituto Romeno di Cultura e Ricerca Umanistica de Venezia, The National Centre for Roma Culture – Romano Kher (CNCR)



Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti






Eugen Raportoru, one of the most important Romanian visual artists of his generation, graduated the Bucharest National University of Arts faculty of painting. Raportoru is the only Romanian artist of Roma origin to show his works at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Vatican City under the aegis of UNESCO, the Ethnic Museum in Oslo, and in Stockholm through the Roma Party. His work has been exhibited on the walls of the Brâncuşi Hall of the Romanian Parliament, and shown in numerous exhibitions in the Romanian capital, including the Romanian Museum of Contemporary Art (MNAC). A member of the Romanian Union of Plastic Artists since 2010, he received the best painter award at the national UAP Gala in 2021. Raportoru’s work is regularly featured in exhibitions throughout Romania and is found in numerous private collections.



Ilina Schileru, Romanian artist, curator and cultural manager, received her MA in Graphic Art from the Bucharest National University of Arts. A member of UAP Romania and founding director of Ebienale, she collaborates with galleries and artist-run spaces in Bucharest. Schileru is programme coordinator of MNTRplusC, a contemporary artist-run space within the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, showcasing international collaborations between local and international artists and curators, such as Cornelia Lauf, John Cabot University (Rome, Italy); and Piotr Armianovsky (Ukraine), featured artist of La Biennale 2019. Schileru collaborates with numerous NGOs on integrating immigrant and refugee children through art programmes, and is engaged in establishing joint initiatives with other national museums (Museum of Recent Art, MNAR, etc.).



Daniel Baker, artist and curator, is a Romani Gypsy, born in Kent in the UK, and holds a PhD on the subject of Gypsy Aesthetics from the Royal College of Art, London. His work is exhibited internationally and can be found in collections worldwide. Baker curated FUTUROMA at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. His work was also shown at the Venice Biennale in 2007 in Paradise Lost: The First Roma Pavilion, and in 2011 in Call the Witness. Baker’s art practice examines the role of art in the enactment of social agency via the reconfiguration of elements of the Gypsy aesthetic. Publications include: We Roma: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art, Ex Libris and FUTUROMA. Former Gypsy Council Chair, Baker lives and works in London.


Press contact:

Katarzyna Pabijanek

katarzyna.pabijanek@eriac.org | press@eriac.org

+48 882 567 027