Twelve Months, Twelve Creators: A Reverence for the UK-based Romanian Artists

@ London

In the middle of its street on either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2)

Romanian artists have often found in the UK a welcoming home and the nurturing environment where their work has flourished, forged in the highly competitive British cultural scene.

In 2019, the Romanian Cultural Institute in London is proud to celebrate twelve accomplished artists living and working in the UK. They belong to distinct generations and serve different muses but are all recognised for their originality and the exquisite mastery of their craft.

Each month, through high profile events and content on our platforms, we invite you to (re)discover the work and journey of a cultural personality. In view of the uncertainty all around us, these personal stories of Romanian artists living in the UK will hopefully offer an insight into the hard-working Romanian community to which this project is dedicated.

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The January artist in the ‘Twelve Months, Twelve Creators’ series is painter Mircea Teleagă.

Born in 1989 in Romania, Mircea Teleagă graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2016, where he attended the MFA Painting Course led by Lisa Milroy. To study at Slade he was awarded the Sarabande Scholarship, being selected for it by artist Dinos Chapman. After graduation, he was artist in residence at the Academy of Visual Arts in Hong Kong and at Sarabande in London. Between 2016 and 2018, he had two solo shows: ‘let it burn’ in 2017 and ‘Presence’ in 2018, curated by William Davie. To coincide with the last solo show, the first monograph documenting the show – ‘Presence’ – was published, containing three essays by artists Justin Mortimer, Caroline Walker and writer and critic Jane Neal. His works can be found in The Kolon Collection (Seoul), The Simmons & Simmons Collection (London) and The Soho House Collection (Amsterdam). Currently, Mircea Teleagă is an Honorary Research Associate in MA/MFA Painting at the Slade School of Fine Art.

More details: here.

The February artist is designer Gabriela Popa.

Gabriela Rose is a well-established luxury brand recognised for ingenious twists of classic designs and seamless finishing. Launched in 2011 by designer Gabriela Popa, it is characterised by combining quintessentially English, carefully tailored tweed fabrics with cleverly inserted brightly printed jacquard linings. Having also invented the ingenious velvet Rose Wrap, her take on fashion likewise reflects a high regard for carefully handmade garments, innovative techniques and personal artistic touches, redefining classic designs with spectacular results.
More details: here.


Art curator, critic and poet Simona Nastac is the artist-in-focus in March.

Simona Nastac is a curator, critic and poet living in London. She studied art history and theory in Bucharest and holds an MA in Creative Curating from Goldsmiths University, London. She has curated exhibitions and live poetry events in London, Seoul, New York, Saint Petersburg, Prague, Shanghai, Cluj and Bucharest. In 2017 she published her first poetry book, The Depressing Colour of Honey (Tracus Arte, Bucharest), which won the Alexandru Mușina Prize ‘The King of the Morning’ for poetry debuts. The volume was also shortlisted for the George Bacovia National Debut Prize in 2018. Committed to socio-critical art and context responsive practices, she is forever looking for unexpected outcomes able to gently shake up the world.

More details: here.

Actor and writer Olivia Negrean is the artist-in-focus in April.

Olivia Negrean is a Romanian actress and playwright based in London, who has a great passion for Shakespeare and wants to bring the female characters of his plays to the forefront. She has done so through FEAST (having written the play and performing in it), but also as an actress and assistant director for two different Shakespeare productions that were created for the International Shakespeare Festival in Craiova, in 2016 and 2018, respectively, where she performed in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Apart from creating her own work, Olivia collaborated with the Romanian Cultural Institute on two projects: Andras Visky’s play about a young Mother Teresa and a play about Ecaterina Teodoroiu, written and directed by Liana Ceterchi.

More details: here.

Violinist Bogdan Văcărescu is the artist-in-focus in May.

Bogdan Văcărescu is a London-based concert violinist who has toured internationally since his teens. He performed on some of the world’s greatest stages from the Athenaeum in Bucharest to the Sydney Opera House. His solo album recorded with Julian Jacobson, "Violin and Piano Thrillers", was given five-star reviews across European magazines and radios. Bogdan also recorded soundtracks for films and documentaries, most notably in collaboration with Oscar winners Stephen Warbeck and Gabriel Yared. He has collaborated with BBC Radio and TV, ABC TV, Nigel Kennedy, Paprika, The Cat Empire, Graffiti Classics, She’Koyokh and Secret Cinema, experimenting with many different musical genres. In 2017, Bogdan founded String Dimensions - a chamber group featuring some of the finest musicians in London.

More details: here.

In June, the artist-in-focus is professor and architect Doina Petrescu.

Doina Petrescu is Professor of Architecture and Design Activism at the University of Sheffield. She was Visiting Professor at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Architectural Association London, Iowa State University and Ion Mincu Institute Bucharest. She is co-founder, together with Constantin Petcou, of atelier d’architecture autogérée (aaa), a research-led platform concerning participative architecture. Recent projects like Passage 56 and WikiVillage Factory in Paris and R-Urban received numerous awards including the Building4Humanity Resilient Design Competition (2018) and The Innovation in Politics Award for Ecology (2017). Her publications include ‘Architecture and Resilience’ (2018) and ‘The Social (re)Production of Architecture’ (2017).

More details: here.

The artist-in-focus in July is visual artist Paul Arion.

Paul Arion is the only Romanian who won, together with his team, three Oscars for visual effects. In 2001, Paul Arion moved to Canada, where he started working for companies dedicated to Visual FX in feature films. In this period, he worked on multiple film projects such as ‘Silent Hill’, ‘Ant Bully’, ‘The Tudors’ and ‘The Wild’. In 2008, Paul decided to move to London to enhance his career in higher visuals and budgeted films to combine all the techniques he had mastered. He started another decade of collaboration with Moving Picture Company, delivering films like ‘Superman: Man of Steel’, ‘Maleficent’, ‘Harry Potter’ and the epic science fiction ‘Prometheus’, as well as many other films. In 2015, he collaborated on Academy Award winner ‘Jungle Book’. Shortly after he took on a new role as Global Head of Layout for DNEG, overseeing multiple studios distributed throughout the globe and delivering huge successes for Marvel, DC, Harry Potter franchise and many others.

More details: here.

The August artist  is violinist Maria Gîlicel.

Maria Gîlicel started her violin and music studies at the age of four. She acquired her degree at the Conservatorio Adolfo Salazar in Madrid under Farid Fasla, before graduating with First Class Honours as a student of Ani Schnarch at the Royal College of Music, where she is now taking her Masters in Performance with Maciej Rakowski. Maria made her début at an early age at Madrid's National Auditorium and has since performed in many venues, including Wigmore Hall, Buckingham Palace, Royal Festival Hall, St John’s Smith Square, Museo Sartorio (Trieste), Casa Tartini (Slovenia) and the Romanian Cultural Institute in London. In 2018, she performed with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe as part of its Academy during its tour in Italy. She also took part in the BBC Symphony Orchestra Pathway Scheme. She is a founder of the Chloé Piano Trio and the Thaleia String Quartet. Most recently she won the Tillett Trust Young Artists' Platform and the RPS Emily Anderson Prize.

More details: here.

The September artists are architects Anca Mihalache and Anastasia Stan.

More details: here.

The October artist is translator Gabi Reigh.

More details: here.

The November artist is pianist Anda Anastasescu.

More details: here.

The December artist is filmmaker Laurentiu Calciu.

More details: here.