“My social circle since high-school was formed by art people - many of my friends back then in Bucharest are now artists, filmmakers, scriptwriters, etc., so starting to work in the arts was an extension of my social life. As a young community growing up in post-communist Romania, we were driven by a need to think, act differently, and make sense of that moment of transition where a vulnerable, recovering society from decades of communist suppression was greedily embracing the West. The Arts was our communal and binding language. When I was 20 years old, I got my first job in the Arts, I was the coordinator of the volunteer team for the 1st edition of the Biennale for Young Artists, Romania (2004), for which I continued to work the following years while completing my undergraduate studies.
I feel extremely grateful for having such friends during those formative years. We were trying to express ourselves through different means (for example writing, publishing, music, street art) push our thinking beyond the limits of a lethargic education system, but also explore, grasp and optimise that experience of (yet) fragile openness and permissiveness of post ’89 momentum. These experiences of transition from forms of authoritarianism, is something that I have similarly encountered in parts of Southeast Asia with artists engaging critically with the present while trying to find a language to understand a traumatic, recent past that often remains unaddressed in the light of rapid changes.
Since I moved to Singapore and started to work for NTU CCA Singapore, I felt extremely welcomed here by the arts community and our team as well. I always feel that I need to reciprocate this gesture of generosity and openness to the best of my possibilities and abilities. Working with people who motivate and inspire you is a driving force. I feel very lucky that in my experience, I had the opportunity to work and learn from amazing women curators. I also learnt how to lose power – this was a liberating discovery as it allowed me to keep myself grounded.”
Portrait shot by Natsuko Teruya
Makeup by Kelvin Khoo