Oana Maria Cajal

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Oana Maria Cajal

I recognized it! It is the prototype of the feminine figures that protect boundless and ageless love, that sheds a tear even if they know that somewhere there is (because it was registered once), eternal youth and life without death, who witnesses, helplessly, the death of the clown produced by paltry, but repeatable causes and the suppression of freedom in communism, who listen to the CNN news, which recount stories about fulfilment or anxieties, about good and evil on a planetary scale (and we have named thus the thematic series proposed by Oana Maria Cajal through the exhibition opened at the Senso Gallery), which watches for remembrance Octavian Mosescu, the primary grandfather and the beautiful Penca in order to bring them all together again in Balchik, the mythical place in which they were married, entwining them on the solar itinerary of the Romanian modern art.

I was born in my parents’ home in Bucharest, under the spell of Miss Pogany’s bronze eyes. I saw in her my good fairy. Constantin Brancusi’s famous sculpture was the soul, the sun of the art collection of my grandfather on my mother’s side, Octavian Mosescu, an admirer and emulator of artists, a refined collector who, under the guise of an ageless bohemian, was hiding the depth of a Socratic thinker. I have spent my childhood surrounded by works of art, by wonderful objects and paintings. For me, the walls of the house were windows opening up towards the light of colours, towards dreams, towards love. Each painting was telling me a story and my imagination was blooming near them and near the extraordinary artists and writers who frequently visited our house: Lucian Grigorescu, Camil Ressu, Jean Steriadi, Gheorghe Anghel, Dumitru Ghiaţa, Ion Pillat, Adrian Maniu, Camil Petrescu, Hrandt Avachian.

            When I was 5, my brother was born. Waiting for him to arrive from the hospital, I did my first drawing. A brown vase, with brown flowers, on a brown table, under a brown sky. The brown pencil was the only one I could find in the house. I didn’t like brown, but I remember how happy I was that I could draw!

            When I was 9, I had my first exhibition in the orchard in front of my grandparents’ summer house. I hung my paintings on a clothesline, between two cherry trees in bloom. My grandfather participated very ceremoniously in the <<inauguration>>. He stood for a long time in front of each painting and studied it carefully. In the end, he bought a few <<works>>.

            When I was 18, I was ready to enter the Beaux-Arts Institute. A day before the exam, I’m not sure why, I changed my mind and enrolled in the Theatre and Film Institute. I became a theatre critic, but I had no enthusiasm for my job. Just like the colour brown… In contrast, I adored theatre. Meeting the legendary Ellen Stewart in Bucharest was decisive. Shortly after, I managed to escape Ceausescu’s dictatorship. I took the plane to New York with a bandaged hand: the night before I left, my best friend, the dog of our neighbour from across the street, bit me. Why? This is how my eternal voyage started. From New York, I went to California, where I got a Master’s degree in Drama and where I began to write in English. After the revolution of 1989, I wanted to return. Instead, I got married to my first love from Romania, Dr. Stefan Cajal, who had lived in Montréal until then. When our daughter Annya was born, I learned to love in a way that I did not even know existed. She is the perfect form of my love poem, my true masterpiece.

Suddenly, rather recently, I realised that I do not have enough time for all the things that I want to say. I started painting again. Images are quicker than words! I couldn’t wait to paint life in all its aspects: beauty, despair, divinity, fear, calm, darkness, light…