They danced in a different way - PhMuseum

They danced in a different way

Simona Ciocarlan

2018 - Ongoing

Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going to?

Throughout history, ever since the dawn of humanity, these questions intrigued and haunted us.

While society today tends to look more towards the future, striving to develop new and exciting responses, my project walks in the opposite direction, finding deep meanings about ourselves in scrutinising the past and the rich heritage embedded in the folk textiles.

“They danced in a different way” is an examination of memory, nostalgia, and cultural projections, seeking to provide insights into the lives of people that continue to practice ancestral rituals and wear traditional attire in Europe.

My photographs are glimpses of people’s lives, documenting stories of individuals and communities from different regions of Romania. The red thread that connects all these narratives, including my own, is represented by the Romanian peasant textiles and archaic traditions. Folk textiles could be regarded as an interplay between invention, innovation, and ancient heritage handed down from generation to generation, from mothers to daughters, acting as symbols produced over centuries of cultural exchange. The constant migration to urban areas and displacement to other countries combined with the intensive industrialisation, and the ignorance of immaterial culture have a major impact on the survival of the methods and craftsmanship knowledge necessary for the creation of these sustainable fabrics.

My intention is to place a light onto these customs, drawing a portrait of post-communist Romania, investigating how the identities are built and influenced by the interweave between the modern world, perceptions, and inherited culture. I am fascinated by how these ancient traditions manage to adapt and survive in a world of constant change and modernisation.

The series ultimately focuses on the mother and female figure, by contemplating their lives and the myriad examples of objects and practices they produced, contributing to the personal, national, and universal cultural heritage.

In a world overwhelmed by environmental issues, my work promotes the importance of cultural heritage and fashion sustainability. I hope I will manage to inspire my daughter and further generations in keeping the folk textiles and traditions alive.

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