COLLEGIUM. Actions and works from 1990s: workshop and talk by Liliana Basarab

Artist in Residence

Artist Talk
October 2, 18:00, HEI—House of European Institutes
Galeria 1 a Bastionului Theresia, Strada Hector, Timișoara

Open process lab | Liliana Basarab x OMARA—Mara Oláh
26–29.09.2023, 14:00–15:30

IP—The Institute of the Present (Bucharest) organises the last stage of the 2023 residency programme aimed at researching and rediscussing artworks created in the early 1990s in Romania, Hungary and Serbia, together with their contexts, the (temporary) artistic collectives or solitary initiatives conceived as solutions for new gestures, sometimes utopic at their time. The artist selected for the September residency is Liliana Basarab, who researches the work of artist OMARA – Mara Oláh (1945–2020) one of the best-known Roma artists from Hungary. The residency includes a research period, open process laboratory and discussions, as well as an informal presentation/ artist talk on October 2, 2023. 


Mara Oláh is a self-taught artist who worked as a cleaning lady and began painting at the age of 43, after her mother’s death. While she used art as a therapeutic tool to overcome and surrender humiliation, the pain of losing her mother, the anguish of estrangement from her daughter, and the physical pain caused by cancer, her paintings reveal the major traumas of her life. Humiliation, poverty, the vulnerability of minorities, and women’s fate are central themes in her works. She illustrated scenes from her life and summed up her thoughts and feelings in messages written on the surface of the image. Her paintings and drawings usually depict real events and include poetic inscriptions to highlight her emotional state. In 1993, she created Mara Gallery in her Budapest apartment, the first private Roma art gallery in Hungary.

The research process that artist Liliana Basarab opens up to all those interested to join, preferably women (students, teachers, artists, art lovers, members of the Roma community and other minorities), is inspired by the works of Mara Oláh and their deeply personal subjectivity. The artist is particularly interested in ways of exploring intimacies, especially in contrast to the increasingly cynical and impersonal world of art nowadays, which lacks direct and objectively filtered experiences. During her work and research process, Liliana Basarab is interested in the possibilities of creating spaces of encounter with others (similarly to  Mara’s Gallery), but also a personal space to express women’s anxieties and vulnerabilities.

LILIANA BASARAB (b. 1979) is a visual artist working in Bucharest, that started her career in Iași, in the early 2000s. Her art practice is socially engaged and often functions as a reflection on representation. She is interested in gender issues and works within various mediums like ceramics, sculpture, textiles, drawings, performance, video, education. She is part of the collective who organise the Sofia Nădejde Awards for literature written by women.

Artwork Mara Oláh: “Mara moved to Gönyü, nobody helped” (1996), Ludwig Museum Collection, Donation of European Roma Culture Foundation, 2013

Collegium residency team September 2023: Ștefania Ferchedău, Bianca Băilă, Tamina Bojoancă
Visual: Sebastian Pren


IP—The Institute of the Present is a research and an artist and theory resource platform in the field of visual and performing culture conceived by Ștefania Ferchedău and Alina Șerban. 

The “Uncensored Act” programme, including the residency component, dwells on the idea of community, collective action, collaboration and solidarity in the spirit of shared values, with a route that is triggered by the history of Timișoara in the 1989 context, connected regionally and internationally through the proposed artistic content.

The project is part of the national cultural programme “Timișoara—European Capital of Culture in the year 2023” and is funded by the City of Timișoara through the Center for Projects.

COLLEGIUM residency programme is organised in the frame of the project “Uncensored Act” Partners: HEI—House of European Institutes, EUNIC—European Union National Institutes for Culture in Romania.

Contact: [email protected], 

This project is part of the national cultural programme “Timișoara—European Capital of Culture in the year 2023” and is funded by the Municipality of Timișoara, through the Center for Projects.

Part of

Uncensored Act 2023

Uncensored Act 2023