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Pride and Concrete

Petrut Călinescu

One in four Romanians lives and works abroad. Most migrants come from rural areas and the money sent back home has irreversibly transformed their native villages. Unlike in the city, where economic competition is a subtler affair, in the villages changes are highly visible and the main street acts as an open stage for ostentatious display.

Pride and Concrete is a project about the recent transformations occurring in rural communities following decades of migration abroad for work. The gentle, bucolic sounds of small-scale agriculture have been replaced with the muffled murmur of concrete mixers, and village elders strut around on building sites, inspecting progress.

Through this localised perspective, Petruț Călinescu provides the audience with a reflection on the transformation of European communities.

About the artist:

Petruț Călinescu is a freelance documentary photographer and videographer based in Bucharest, Romania. He has a BA in Journalism and Communication Sciences and has worked as a photographer for the main journals in Romania and for Agence France-Presse (AFP). He is a co-founder of the Romanian Documentary Photography Centre, which aims to produce, stimulate and group together the best projects on Romanian documentary photography.

For this series, Petruț was accompanied by Ioana Călinescu who is responsible for the editorial aspect of the Pride and Concrete project. As well as contributing regularly to Tabu magazine, Ioana Călinescu works as an ecologist for the Green Report, TVR1, an epicure on BBC Good Food and a scrounger through people’s homes and lives on a great pretext on BBC Good Homes.

A flock of sheep pass a newly built house in the village of Cajvana. Many people in the village have worked abroad, mainly in the construction industry, and when they come back to Romania, many build large new homes.

A local woman gathers straw off a field in front of a newly built house in Ilva Mare village. The straw is set alight and burnt in small fires.

The small, one-storey house belonging to the Gherman family clings to the side of a new constructed three-storey building which two brothers, grandsons of the original house's owner, are building. They work in Paris and have been building their family home back in Romania over several years.

People gather for the funeral of an 84-year-old man in the yard of his house. Next to his house his grandson who is working in Spain is building a new, much larger, house.

Petre Dorle takes his supercar for a spin in the village during the holidays when he visits from France. Petre is a successful entrepreneur in the construction industry.