ART - Africa 1999-2000

Africa or the challenge of simplicity

I gave birth to Andrei in 1998, and short time afterwards I left Romania for Nigeria - it was the greatest adventure of my life!
I made pretty efforts to reconstitute there my Romanian studio and continue the projects started at home. On the "black continent" everything is extraordinary, nothing can be compared with what we see and feel in Europe: the wind, the light, the climate (seasons) and people are different, even space seems something else.

In spite of all difficulties, I consider my African period another start in my art - I did acquire a greater simplicity of the pictorial surface and approached a new chromatics.

But my most important acquisition was the change, a change from all points of view.

I discovered the fascinating Nigerian world, an unsophisticated, exotic and occult world, enjoying an amazing artistic tradition. Both Nigerians' daily life and their artistic ambient were full of surprising shapes and colours. The wooden sculptures and masks, the different instruments the natives used for their rituals delighted my senses. I was also impressed by people's modesty - how little they needed for their daily living, how useless and burdening seemed riches to them!

It was in Africa that I redefined my plastic expression. In Africa I fell ill, and in order to heal, I had to change myself wholly.

Back home, I felt that I had to abandon my old way of life, that I had to turn into somebody else. It needed quite a long time... It was a mental effort to take a distance from my previous vanity, from my illogical ambitions and desires. Today I am grateful to my chance: I discovered the beauty of life in its very simplicity. I tried to rethink priorities and put my family and our love to each other first and foremost.

The clichés the eye surprises are stocked "somewhere" as shapes and colours, as lights and shades. After a while, what one wants to do changes inevitably, even if one comes back to things left unfinished.
I started from a hand - it was not by chance that I had noticed it - painted in Africa, and I realized that I have to bring it to essence, that is to a unique and personal plastic sign.

Beti Vervega