The Flower from the Garden
Emerging artist: Ana Țaran (Bucharest, Romania)
Residency place: META Cultural Foundation (Slon, Prahova County, Romania)
Practice: visual artist and filmmaker
Curated by: Raluca-Elena Doroftei
The village of Slon and its surroundings, with all the interpretations about history, tradition, nature, creative potential of the local community and the values of the material and intangible heritage of the area, becomes the subject of research and inspiration in the projects of the guest artists of the audiovisual creative residency in Slon (Prahova County, Romania), implemented by META Cinema – META Cultural Foundation.
The studies show that women are recognized as having more capacity in identifying the needs of the community than men, and with women’s increased participation in village development every year, for the 3rd edition of MagiC Carpets residency, we had in mind shifting the focus of at least one invited artist on the issues related to the feminine heritage and the female view on contemporary challenges. The preparatory part of the project focuses on several questions following the interaction with the women from Slon in the last two editions at the residency. In what way does a woman remain the main domestic pillar, both in the organization of the household – the private space vs. the public space around the house, but also in relation to the community and the extended family? What are the roles that shame, modesty, ambition, gossip, violence play in a community these days? As for the visible fruit of her work, in which way is the woman the creator: from preparing the ritual food for the holidays, to decorating the house, to personal beauty, caring for the family members or how to make provisions depending on the season? The new conditions imposed by the pandemic situation and the public health measures determined us to organize a double residency: a physical one, with the Romanian artists, and an online one, with the international artist. One of the selected Romanian artists was the visual artist and filmmaker Ana Taran, who responded positively to the invitation of creating a project with the community of women in Slon.
“During the process of elaborating a new artistic project, I want to adapt as quickly as possible to the territory I am documenting. It is very important to listen to people, to understand their stories, to live and relive them so that I can capture them on camera as honestly as possible. Only through this deep understanding will the images begin to vibrate,” reveals Ana Țaran.
Preoccupied with the multiple forms of art, Ana Țaran seeks to use different artistic languages in her creations, combining photography with video art and cinematography. She is interested in the internal poetics of any space, with the relationship to memory and childhood, which, in her opinion, “influences us for the rest of our lives”. Over the years, she combined artistic and educational activities in workshops with students from the school in the village of Ha Seeiso (Lesotho, South Africa) and the general school in the village of Mitintsi (western Ukraine). After obtaining a master’s degree in photography at the University of Arts of Bucharest, she continued her studies abroad, at the Cinema Department of the School of Art and Design of Geneva. Her films have been praised at the international film festivals, as Cinéma du Réel Festival, Paris (2020); Festival dei Popoli, Florence (2019); Cinéhaiku Festival, Gordes (2017); Zoom – Zblizenia Film Festival, Jelenia Gora (2017) or Corto Festival in Accademia, Macerata (2016).
Ana came to Slon without expectations; she was eager to discover by herself the people, the streets, the houses, before finding the topic that interests her most. Guided by the sisters Maria and Mihaela, friends of the residency, Ana met their grandparents, Tanța and Sandu, but also the hairdresser Floarea. She went on visits, talked to them about their life in Slon, about their stories, and at the end of the residency, accomplished a short documentary film, called The Flower from the Garden, about different generations of women and their intimate relationship with Slon. “It was very interesting to discover how these women interact with each other and pass on to young generations their personal traditions and stories. It is magical and sensitive at the same time,” says Ana.
The Flower from the Garden (18’22 | 2020) wanders between the fate of the hairdresser Floarea, with her unfulfilled dreams, and the fate of the elderly Tanța and Sandu and their granddaughter Mihaela and Maria. Fragments of their memories and aspirations are intertwined in a strange and subtle way. The songs, the hora, the canton on the mountain draw discreet and sincere bridges between the lives of the characters. The stories of the children are found in those of the elders and vice versa as in a magical game; and over all these stories maintain the atmosphere from Slon, suspended, at the foot of the mountains, between a difficult past and an uncertain future.
Between shooting and meeting with the local community, given that cinema creation and networking are encouraged during the audiovisual creative residency in Slon, evenings were dedicated to presentations of artist’s portfolios and screening sessions. Ana presented her previous documentary film, created in 2019, Kompas, but also watched the short films produced during previous residencies in Slon and the works of her fellows in the residency: Vlad Dinu, Mihai Dragolea and Toni Mijač.
Moreover, between 13 and 18 of August, 2020, as part of a pilot program for the Summer School of Audiovisual Creation for Children, launched this year and targeting children in the area with inclination for art and literature, Ana Țaran conducted creative workshops for children aged 9 to 13. She taught them how to define a “room” in cinema and also how to create visual stories. At the end of the workshops, the most successful exercises of the children were awarded in a ceremony.
The Flower from the Garden was presented during “MagiC Carpets 2018-2020. Showcase online”.