Updated: Nov 3, 2019
When I was growing up in communist Romania, we had many jokes to keep us sane. A famous series was that of Q&A of Radio Yerevan. One of my favourites went like this:
Q: Is it true that Comrade Popov had received a car in recognition for his successes at work?
A: Yes, it is - but it was not Comrade Popov, it was Comrade Andronov; it was not a car, it was a bike; and he had not received it, he had it stolen.
Now, you may think: how relevant can this be to an artist blog? Read on.
In March this year, the Romanian Ambassador contacted me to ask if I could help with putting together a small exhibition of drawings to complement an event organized by the Embassy in May. "We'll do it at Carleton University and it will be a lecture to celebrate 10 years of the Eastern European Partnership under EU." That's nice, I said, though a bit tight for time - shall I prepare a few paintings of heritage sites in those countries? "A marvelous idea!" - he said. And we moved on.
Come April, I wrote to the Embassy to check the dimensions of the room, displaying possibilities etc. "Oh, we're not sure of the venue yet." Umm, and when can we find out? It's getting close to the date... "No worries, we've moved the event to June. And it's not going to be a lecture, but a concert!" Very cool. (are you starting to see some connection to the joke? yeah, me too, but I did not expect the cherry on top.) Two weeks before the June date, they called and said: it's at the Parliament, in one of the courtyards. Like, an exterior courtyard? Yes. So ... easels for display? "Pretty much. How many have you got? We can give you three!"
I know - it sounds hectic. It was. I had literally one hour to set up (and secure!) 12 paintings on easels. Made it work! In fact, the Romanian Embassy staff went above and beyond, the event was a complete success, incredibly high-exposure (read: Diplomatic Corps from European countries and Canadians MPs) and I made some great connections. What more can one ask for one's first exhibition?
When I described it to my good friend who's helped with the presentation brochure, I joked: "After my first exhibition at the Canadian Parliament, it is only natural to have the second on Fifth Avenue." Well, go figure... check this out!