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Dorian Branea, Director of Romanian Cultural Institute in London: Romanian Culture Crosses the Irish Sea

As a vibrant and innovative hub of artistic creativity, Ireland has been for years a destination for Romania’s cultural diplomacy initiatives. The efforts of the Romanian Cultural Institute, acting in tandem with the Romanian Embassy in Dublin, have aimed at raising the awareness of the Irish public with regard to our artistic achievements, strengthening the collaboration among Romanian and Irish cultural entrepreneurs and ultimately projecting a balanced, multi-faceted and, we hope, admirable portrait of Romanian culture, new and old. In no less measure, our presence has strived to give the thriving and increasingly integrated Romanian community in Ireland a sense of identity and belonging.

Although based in London, we have eaten up distance with every occasion as we believe that our endeavour is meaningful in London as it is in Dublin or Reykjavik. Thus, in the last years, together with our numerous partners at home and in Ireland, we have worked to showcase the Romanian culture in all its richness in the attempt to make every new screening, talk, concert, exhibition a time of discovery and joy. With every other initiative, important cultural personalities and artefacts from Romania have joined a cultural space eager to delve into foreign cultural forms and curious to learn more about, and enjoy, our arts and history.

The saga of Romanian-Irish cultural collaboration, energised by our common European heritage and, somewhere deeper, by the distant tones of the ancient Celtic patrimony, has been punctuated by memorable highlights. Unforgettable there remain our common projects with Irish Film Institute and the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, including a Romanian focus and several Q&As with established Romanian film-makers; Romanian and Irish composers’ collective pursuit of new musical textures at Dublin Lab; the incessant tours of exuberant ConTempo Quartet; the works of visual artists Bogdan Rață and Ilie Mitrea exhibited in some of the most critically acclaimed showcases in Ireland for the past years; or the theatrical series that has brought some of the stars of Romanian stage to Dublin.

The culmination of our cultural presence in Ireland has been, undoubtedly, “The Romanian Cultural Days in Dublin”. Our most ambitious programme to date, bringing together an impressive pool of Romanian and Irish talent, this has not only been a celebration of cultural excellence but also a revealing cultural dialogue between Romania and Ireland. For almost a month in the autumn of 2014, Dubliners could sample some of our best artistic achievements in film, theatre, literature, visual arts offered by both Romanian and Irish protagonists, like authors Ioan Es. Pop and Peter Hurley, directors Stere Gulea and Felix Alexa, composer Shaun Davey, actors Oana Pellea and Răzvan Vasilescu, on some of the capital’s most prestigious cultural stages.

The response of the Irish public, which has graced our events in great numbers, has always been tremendously warm and rewarding. In Dublin and everywhere in Ireland, we have found receptive and competent partners, and the success of our events must also be credited to the support of some revered Irish institutions like Irish Film Institute, RTÉ Concert Orchestra (photo), National Concert Hall, Project Arts Centre, National Library of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin,  Dublin Sound Lab, Hugh Lane Gallery. The public, the Irish friends and partners, the embrace of a congenial culture – how can one ask for stronger reasons to make the Romanian culture a permanent presence in Ireland?

 

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