10 Portraits

Storytelling and Photography: Oana Maroti

One of these days, during my long walk, I saw a giant pine tree. Its green needles were showing off on the blue sky´s clean surface. I approached the pine tree to contemplate it and while I was doing it I saw paintings on a wall, a hidden exhibition, in the small park of a cultural center.

A safe space to remove my mask for a bit, since I was the only observer.

Oh, the relaxation of not having to worry about the others presence and the virus. It’s delightful to have found something like this.

10 portraits and trees. The calm autumnal light convinced me to sit on the wooden bench in front of the exhibition and take a little sunbath.

With a relaxed mind, I begin to recognize the muses in these portraits and to understand that what I am seeing is a social statement.

I have made a title for each work that had none and would love to mention all the artists, but only some of the paintings are signed. Here they are, from left to the right:

Clint Eastwood  by carolepainting; La Santa la Vampira – unknown artist; Blurry-Blue by ROLU; Golden Hands, Manos de Oro by artbenedito; Tove Jansson- The Queen of Fantastic Murals by MW; Lady Blue – unknown artist; Kind Eyes, James Baldwin – unknown artist; Por la Sombra – unknown artist; Irreversible Time Scars show Golden Surfaces -unknown artist; Pink Warrior by – Juunoortizart.

A beautiful wall, an open exhibition, a pleasant atmosphere and the portraits that have a lot to say. I didn’t recognize them all, but Clint Eastwood sure was an easy guess.

Tove Jansson´s portrait looks exactly like a photo of her from 1967, wearing a flower crown, like a fairy, who believed in the simplicity of life:

“I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes and dream!

James Baldwin was a challenge, it took some days to recognise him after his portrait, but when it happened, reminding his courageous words boosted me with energy:

¨Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.¨

This exhibition speaks about freedom of expression, human rights, fighting back with humor and imagination. It might seem ephemeral, but with the help of photography, it is not so ephemeral, anymore.

Passing by to remark it´s beauty and to think about social models, absolutely others than proposed by the classic media, to re-think was like refilling my mouth of fresh forestal air.

Through creativity, the walls that surround us can be transformed, regardless if they are physical or mental.

It’s just a matter of time and rain until all 10 portraits will disappear. Yet, knowing that street art can bring reminders of important but ignored personalities, anytime, gives me hope.

There will be more.

The 10 Portraits can be embodied as a museum or gallery exhibition, yet it´s public visibility formula and the content, the personalities it shows and their powerful voices makes it more suitable for open spaces, where anyone is invited, regardless the gender, colour, nationality or economical status, no exclusion what so ever.

Art saves the day.

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