! - Omara Occupies the Sound-Space

Omara Occupies the Sound-Space


04.05 - 29.05

Kesztyűgyár Közösségi Ház Mátyás tér 15, 1084 Budapest

Participating artists: Mara Oláh (Omara)

Participating curators: Andrea Pócsik

Nyitvatartás / Opening hours:

Hétfő-Szerda, Szombat / Monday-Wednesday, Saturday: 14.00 - 18.00

Csütörtök-Péntek / Thursday-Friday: 10.00 – 18.00

Curator’s assistant: Marina Csikós 

Sound collage: György Bartók composer

Participants: Ágnes Blaskó socio drama leader; members of the 8thDistrict women’s community: Éva Galyas, Fanni Iváncsik, Eleonóra Setét; Etelka Jónás community social worker; Tamás Szegedi theatre director 

Supported by the Municipality of Budapest, co-financed by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Goethe-Institut

Partners: Glove Factory Community Centre, Everybody Needs Art, Kugler Art Salon and Gallery, FROKK (Roma Cultural Center, Budapest), Futrinka workshop, UCCU (Roma Informal Educational Foundation)

Special thanks: Edit András, Péter Bencze, Nóra Böhler, Kriszta Dékei, Kata Fris E. ,  Anna Jávor,  Etelka Jónás, Éva Kovács, Edit Kőszegi, Delaine LesBas, Nihad Nino Pušija, Raatzsch Jenő André, János Sugár, Péter Szuhay

Sound is space-coloured.

                        (Béla Balázs)


Mara Oláh (alias Omara, 1945–2020) was one of the most influential, internationally acknowledged Hungarian Roma painters. Her art addressed decisive events that determined her own life: she painted scenes from her life and summarized her thoughts and feelings in messages inscribed onto the image surface. The linking of the figurative and the narrative, coupled with the raw, poster candour of her works, resulted in a unique contemporary language that Omara used to unravel the social reality of her descent and womanhood beyond dealing with her own destiny.

Those who were fortunate enough to know Omara in person can recall her passion, her mentality that recognized no authority but showed unconditional humility towards art. Omara believed in honesty, and her works and other expressions were characterized by unvarnished straightforwardness. This is reflected by the script of her captions and other texts, with her frequent use of exclamation marks. Omara’s works are more than pieces of art; speaking up from a tripled position of disadvantage (as woman, as Roma, as a person living in difficult financial circumstances) they are symbolic representations of rebellion against any sort of oppression.

The artist passed away in March 2020, but the visual power of her narrative painting, the emotional load of her captions have rendered Omara’s voice eternal, and by our intentions, it is going to be amplified further by the selection of her works presented at this year’s OFF-Biennale. By addressing and actively involving people (representatives of cultural spaces and institutions) who were important to Omara, the exhibition recalls the stages of her career with the help of such boundary objects that express the artist’s impact on them, the experiences of encounters and collaborations. The knowledge they cannot access on account of their origin, social standing or gender. 

A fundamental element of the exhibition is a reader’s theatre, the participants of which are not professional actors: the diverse voices of Omara’s autobiography are sounded by Roma women. All this is complemented by guided tours and museum education sessions at the Glove Factory Community Centre, which renders the exhibition into a meeting place, a backdrop to the social encounter between 8thDistrict locals and the OFF-Biennale’s audience.

Date of the reader's theatre: 21 may 2021 18.00

Venue: Kesztyűgyár Közösségi Ház, Tükörterem (broadcast if neccesary due to restrictions)

The exhibition can only be visited with the certifitacet of protection.

A kiállítás kizárólag védettségi igazolvánnyal látogatható, a tér jól szellőztethető, egyszerre öt fő tartózkodhat bent. Az esetleges várakozási idő alatt a kapcsolódó teraszon mód van a kiállítási szövegek, kiadványok olvasgatására.