Małgorzata Mirga-Tas: the first Roma artist to feature in a pavilion at the 2022 Art Biennale
Małgorzata Mirga-Tas is a Polish-Romanian artist and activist, who this year has been chosen to represent the Polish Pavilion in the Art Biennale 2022. She is the first Roma artist to be nominated as the star of a national pavilion.
“Re-enchanting the World” is the title of her exhibition, inspired by Silvia Federici’s book ‘Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons’ in which the author proposes a way to restore the world and re-establish a genuine idea of community.
The Polish artist thus covers the four walls of the pavilion with twelve large, richly decorated patchworks, which tell the story of a journey and a culture: she narrates the universe of the Roma people.
Mirga-Tas divides the walls into three horizontal bands to tell three different stories. The lower band depicts the everyday life of Roma settlements in Poland, including the narration of life in the artist’s hometown.
The middle band, on the other hand, portrays women who left their mark on her life, also recalling the study of the stars, an important pillar of Roma culture.
Finally, the highest band: the story of the exodus of her people and their arrival in Europe.
The intent of this tale, told through sequins, textiles and beads masterfully stitched together, is to show the history of this minority and to place the representations of this culture in the history of art.
The Roma Pavilion Paradise Lost was included for the first time in the 52nd edition of the Venice Art Biennale in 2007, in an attempt to break the silence and go beyond the sterile stereotypes surrounding this ethnic group.
Unfortunately, however, this exhibition had no sequel and was not repeated in the following editions, until this year.
The Venice Art Biennale is a fundamental cultural moment: from one pavilion to another and from one room to another, visitors have the opportunity to explore the most diverse cultures through the varied modes of expression that art provides.
The gamble made by the two curators of the Polish Pavilion, Wojciech Szymański and Joanna Warsza, is therefore to be commended: they have helped to make the Biennale a fertile ground for new knowledge and new thoughts.