Perverse Use of Street Murals by the Authorities

By: Voica Puscasiu  

This research aims to tell the entangled story of how various factors and conflicting interests came together to create a confusing and frankly shameful situation. It's a tale about how knowledgeable authorities navigate loopholes to suit their needs, taking advantage of institutional carelessness, and individual ignorance, while at the same time preying on a rather silent minority who is tricked and trapped by deeply rooted discrimination. It all started when the mayor of Baia Mare - a city in Northwestern Romania, built a wall, essentially hiding the Rroma-inhabited neighborhood from the rest of the population. Following obvious controversy regarding the said wall, he decided to enlist the help of art students from the University of Arts and Design in Cluj-Napoca in the hope that his construction would be safe from demolition since it would fall under the same protection laws dedicated to works of art. The public outcry that ensued regarding this matter attracted plenty of attention especially regarding the university, its students, and its professors. This eventually paved the way for a public debate on the subject, which was held in December of 2014 in Cluj-Napoca. It is very important for this discussion to be taken into account because not only was it lively, but it also raised some very important policy-related questions and tackled civic education issues, even though, as it often happens in public debates it did not reach an actual conclusion.

Murals, Discrimination, Policy
The Arts in Social, Political, and Community Life
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Voica Puscasiu

Collaborator, Art History, Romania