”Woman to Woman”: Omara & Małgorzata Mirga-Tas
Ambassador Sandy MOSS,
Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the Council of Europe
Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of Germany to the Council of Europe
have the pleasure to invite you
to the launch of the exhibition “Woman to Woman” organised by
the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC),
followed by a reception and musical performance by Antonela Carla Ionita (violin) and Nicoleta Tudorache (cimbalom)
on Tuesday 27 June 2023 at 5:30 p.m. On view until June 30, 2023
The exhibition will showcase paintings by Omara and artworks by Malgorzata Mirga Tas.
Palais de l’Europe, Strasbourg, France
The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture brings together works of Omara and Małgorzata Mirga-Tas to open up a space for a dialogue on the facets of contemporary Romani womanhood. While acknowledging historical as well as present discourses on Romani feminity, the exhibition focuses on the resilience that lies in these artistic practices vis-à-vis the racialised and exoticised gaze of dominant society. Through gestures of reclaiming these visual stereotypes, Mirga-Tas and Omara lead the way for alternative stories to be told; stories of radical recognition, of community, of overcoming trauma. By taking these external forms of representations of Romani women, the artists fi nd ways of redefi ning the meaning of femininity in creating works that are based on the lived experience of women and their communities. Mirga-Tas’ tapestries depict every-day life in her native Czarna Góra, in which the structure and colour of fabrics become material vehicles of weaving alternative stories. Omara negotiates notions such as tradition, motherhood and femininity in a radical critique of their liminal character that informs her painterly work. Both artists recount narratives of community and tenderness, the connecting tissue of Roma women, and in so doing open up a space of reclaiming and self-determination in their visual, aesthetic and social representation.
Omara (Mara Oláh, 1945-2020, Monor, HU) is a self-taught Hungarian painter and considered one of the most influential and internationally acclaimed Roma artists of today. In 1988, Omara started painting at the age of forty-three. Upon recognising the incredible therapeutic and healing capacities of painting, she started working on episodes from her life such as memories from childhood, trauma, or sickness. Her work has been shown at the fi rst Roma Pavillon at the Venice Biennial in 2007 and centrally featured at Documenta15 in 2022.
Małgorzata Mirga-Tas (*1978 in Zakopane, PL) lives in a Roma settlement in the Tatra Mountains called Czarna Góra, where she works as an educator and activist. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. Mirga-Tas creates vibrant patchworks, sculptures and collages depicting scenes from the lives of and in Roma communities. Mirga-Tas’ international repertoire of exhibitions was highlighted by the Polish Pavillon dedicating their space to her work in the Venice Biennial in 2022.
Cover image: Omara, Even The Mentally Ill Aunt Was Not Left at Home, 2006-2009
Oil on wood, 37×60 cm, Courtesy of Everybody Needs Art and Longtermhandstand, Budapest
Image courtesy: Peter Bencze