Glimpses of Identity: Charm of Swabian Way of Life exhibition exudes whiff of nostalgia

Fragments of the legacy left by the Banat Swabians and preserved, in part, in the Stefan Jager Museum in western Jimbolia will be presented in an exhibition entitled Glimpses of identity: the charm of the Swabian way of life, which will open on Tuesday at the Timisoara Project Centre.

The curator of the exhibition, museographer Cristina Dema, told AGERPRES on Monday that the Stefan Jager Museum is a veritable guardian of the touches that exude a whiff of archaicism, represents the space in which Stefan Jager has placed colour on canvases with a timeless feel. They capture snapshots of everyday life in the first half of the 20th century. Time, a notion with such paradoxical meanings, seemed to have a different rhythm in times when agricultural and domestic work were intertwined in a naturalness of quiet and well-calculated work.

“The exhibition contains ethnographic objects that add to the picture of the ethnic group that has left its mark on Banat since the second half of the 18th century. Visitors will have the opportunity to discover how the Singer sewing machine has managed to make its way into the present, how the Kirchweih tree elevates the festive feeling of life through the green of the rosemary bouquet adorned with colourful ribbons, how the reflections of the old-time Swabians are still mirrored around us. These gates to the past must be seen in a dual sense, both as an opening to a world that has gone, and vice versa, the opening of that world to bring to the present a glimpse of what still defines us,” Cristina Dema told AGERPRES.

After 1990, Stefan Jager became a symbol of the plastic art of the Banat region, under the consecrated name of “painter of the Banat Swabians”, who crossed the borders of Romania.

He became particularly famous for his triptych “The Settlement of the Swabians in South-Eastern Europe”, a monumental work exhibited in the central hall of the Adam Muller Guttenbrunn House in Timisoara.

“Stefan Jager has an essential place, because he painted elements that are largely related to the Swabian painting and historical events. (…) He paints the fields of Banat, the courtyards, the garden with its poultry, the villages, the Swabians’ garb, the fairs, the play of the little ones, the fights between boys, religious feasts, the Kirchweih (a feast similar to the patron day, originating in German-speaking countries, editor’s note). He also paints from the specifics of other ethnic groups’s attire, people dressed in Romanian costumes, working in the fields or herding sheep, historical events, such as the roundup and deportation of people from Banat to the Balkans or the USSR,” says Cristina Dema.

The exhibition is part of the National Cultural Programme Timisoara 2023 European Capital of Culture.