Capturing the essence of Romania in downtown Bucharest might be a challenge. Together with the guides from the project ‘Art in Bucharest’, we take Romanian artists one by one, discovering their works of art and studios. Check this section for more stories of life and art in the capital city.
By Simona David-Crisbășanu, founder and guide, Art in Bucharest
Handcrafted goods and artisan skills have been all but lost in many parts of the world over the last 100 years, but Romania still has some craftsmen who are sharing their age old skills with those willing listen and learn a traditional way of earning an honest living. One of them is Ion Rodoș (56 years old), a woodworker artist from Nucșoara, Argeș county (approx 160 km away from Bucharest). Rodos was one of the artists who took part in the recent Bucharest Easter Fair, where I was involved with bringing some of the artisans to the event.
Ion Rodoș has crafted wood all his life and now he shares his skills with his two sons. His description of his work shows a reverence and depth of understanding rare in the modern world. Each icon is handmade for one of the members of his family. The wooden spoons with special designs are meant to tell stories to children in school. Icons can be ordered/bought for RON 100-600 and spoons are between RON 10 and 150, depending on the complexity of the work.
The craftsman is also a teacher of sculpture at a local School of Arts& Crafts, teaching his craft to almost 40 pupils (from 12 to over 30 years old). “I am glad that these young people can learn a craft from which they can earn an honest living”. He is glad that, through his work and his teaching, he can honor his grandparents, who were also wood artisans. For him, taking care of the children and paying attention to their education is the real meaning of patriotism.
The 56-year old craftsman had a surprising dialogue with cello player Adrian Naidin (37 years old) – we wrote about him in our previous article here-. During the discussion (both in picture), witnessed by a small group of people after Naidin’s concert ended, Ion Rodos talked about his traditional costume, inherited from his ancestors. Ion proudly calls himself a Dacian and he is very fond of passing the authentic tradition onto the next generations. He insisted that he is apolitical and that he is rather upset by how politicians and the media present and treat people.
Unlike most of the villagers in Nucșoara, he has traveled abroad and, through his work, represented Romania in Hungary, The Netherlands and Belgium. “I visited Brussels twice. I don’t like these cities with tall buildings, I prefer to be at home, in the mountains. But it is an honor to represent my country, so that foreigners can find out how Romanians really are, and that we are not all beggars, as some might think”, the artisan said.
“Ion is a true Romanian, like many other villagers from whom I learn our tradtional songs”, Adrian Naidin added. Naidin had met a valuable source for his music, while his songs opened Ion’s heart.
They both shared their feelings with the audience, their sadness for the present and their faith in the future – the same faith that is said to have been one of the strengths of the Romanian people throughout its history. Being a patriot and admitting it is not yet obsolete in our society!
About Art in Bucharest
Art in Bucharest takes art lovers to the artist’s universe and presents the rarely glimpsed creative side of Bucharest. In the studios, visitors have the chance to get a glimpse at the inner sanctum of the artist’s world.