Maramures – 20 years later, photo exhibition by U.S. photographer on display in Bucharest

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What do these last twenty years of significant change in Romania look like in the most traditional and rural regions of the country? U.S. Photographer Kathleen Laraia McLaughlin spent 1999-2000 in the village of Sârbi, Maramureș, living in the community and photographing its people and ways.

Beginning with a 2002 Fulbright grant, Kathleen has returned from Los Angeles to Sârbi again and again, most recently on another Fulbright grant this year. Her journey as a photographer has run parallel to the village’s development.

Kathleen’s mixed media exhibition “Matusa” is on display at Mogosoaia Palace near Bucharest until June 26, a living proof of the life in the countryside and customs of the northern iconic region of Maramureș.

In 1999, hardly anyone in the village had a camera while in 2019 hardly anyone in the village has a phone without a camera. With gains there are losses. Are villagers more empowered now? What is the role of the photographer, especially one from the U.S., when everyone takes pictures? Kathleen explores these questions and more in her newest works, which she will be presenting.

Matusa First Plow Picnic
Matusa Easter Bread

Afterwards, Dr. Monica Cure will lead the audience in a guided discussion to reflect on the questions and emotions raised by Kathleen’s works in a more personal way. What does changing village life mean for us as residents of or visitors to Bucharest? How do we respond to these changes and why? What are the implications for our identity and our future?

On June 27th, Kathleen will be giving a talk at the Museum of the Romanian Peasant, at 18:30/6:30pm.

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