Friday, December 21, 2007

Art Exhibit

Last night I heard loud drumming down in the street below my apartment. At first I wasn't sure what it was; it was so loud. I thought perhaps someone was digging a well with a giant percussion drill-- in the center of town, at 6pm. But, something told me that probably wasn't the case. So, I peered out my window, and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but six men with drums chasing a seventh dressed in strange gear. The man they were chasing was dressed in a frilly, colorful costume that I think was supposed to make him look like an animal. I put on my jacket to go downstairs and have a closer look.

The drummers were running all over the place, but eventually stopped and drummed in front of the town's art gallery for a while. Then they went off to another part of town. I really don't know what that was all about, but I can think of two possible explanations: Maybe the drummers and man in costume is some sort of Rroma Christmas tradition. The reason I speculate this is because I was in a pub earlier this week and three Rroma (perhaps better known as Gypsies) came in. Two of them had plastic buckets for drums, and the other was dressed in a similar costume, which made him look like a cross between a dancing, rainbow-colored Christmas tree and Cousin It. They made their way around the bar asking for money. So, perhaps what I witnessed last night was the same sort of thing I saw in the pub that day. However, there were some differences between the two occurrences. Firstly, last night, the men with drums were dressed very neatly in traditional costumes (whether Rroma or Romanian, I couldn't tell). Secondly, they had real drums, not plastic buckets. Thirdly, they weren't asking for money. And fourthly, the man dressed as the animal/tree/who-knows-what had a decidedly more elaborate costume.

These differences were enough to make me wonder if in fact this was the same thing I had seen in the bar a few days before, or perhaps it was something related to the opening of a new exhibit at the art gallery (my second explanation). This also makes some sense, since the exhibit is a collection of ceramic masks inspired by those of Africa. After all, the drumming was somewhat 'tribal' in nature. Perhaps their spectacle in the town center was a way to announce the opening of the art exhibit. Who knows. In any case, I went to check out the masks. They were pretty cool. The artist talked with me for a while, and tried to explain the motivations behind her project. It was very interesting, and a bit surprising, to see something such as this in a small city like Lugoj.

1 comment:

BM said...

Yeah, you saw part of a (very distorted) Romanian Christmas tradition, usually called "Capra" (the goat).