Memories and Identities in Central and Eastern Europe | 08 – 10 May 2015 | Trinity Long Room Hub (Ireland, Dublin)

Lucian Dumitrescu and Nicolae Tibrigan, researchers from the Institute of Political Sciences and International Relations of the Romanian Academy have participated at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies, organized by the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, the Center for European Studies, the Trinity Long Room Hub, and the Irish Association for Russian, Central and East European Studies, with the paper entitled:Identity Narratives in the Republic of Moldova. Graffiti and Street Art in Chișinău”.

The conference programme can be found here

Abstract

The post-Soviet history of Republic of Moldova is tantamount to the history of Chișinău. With almost 800, 600 inhabitants, that is 22 percent of the total population of Republic of Moldova, the city of Chișinău stands-out not only as the major urban contributor to the Republic of Moldova’s economy (almost 60 percent of the GDP), but also as the site of the most intense symbolic clashes and protest marches, the latter being organized by both political parties and retired people, war veterans, public clerks, journalists, students etc. But the most prominent clashes, that have shaped the city of Chișinău in a particular way from an architectural perspective, are the identity ones. Starting with the Twitter Revolution”, (April 7-9, 2009) one could easily notice that the identity battle has reached a new level: from a collective and public level, coordinated by the state, to an individual level. This individual level, with collective reach and underground characteristic, is expressed by the graffiti messages. We argue that once the parades are over, fanfare silences, and public celebrations come to an end, the graffiti message willcontinue to persist on the public agenda the following identity dilemma: Who are we?

Trying to answer this question, we have focused our research on the ’Othering process’ pictured by the graffiti messages in Chișinău. We have strived to find out how the identity borders drawn through public discourses over the last twenty years in the Republic of Moldova have influenced the art of unknown public artists. In doing so, we have examined the three main identity narratives articulated in the Republic of Moldova starting with 1991 with a focus on power mechanisms employed in order to engender identity strategies. Then, employing a processual approach to culture, we have captured the way that public identity discourses have imprinted on the graffiti messages. The methodological approach that we chose in order to carry out this particular research is characteristic to visual anthropology.

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