Bambina – Queen of Flowers
Bambina – The Queen of The Flowers is the first show about the history and traditions of the Boldeni Roma People in Romania and their cultural heritage – the flowers. The story is based on research carried out in partnership with the Romanian Florists Association on the oral histories and customs of the Roma florists in Bucharest intertwined with the life-story of the famous Roma female florist, Lina Georgescu, known in the Roma Florists community as "Bambina”. Commemorating this successful businesswoman as an emblematic figure of the Florists' guild is the starting point in the construction of this show with highlights on both historical insights into the florist community of Romania and socio-economic challenges of present times.
As its title says, the show focuses on the famous florist, Bambina, Lina Georgescu, who died in 2014. We try to tell her story, in part, as we learned it from people who knew her, especially from her son, Florin Georgescu and we try to link it to a broader story, to a broader historical context: the florists of Bucharest. We start in the village of Bold and we go through the social changes that have taken place so far, and document how the florists have been affected by these changes.
- Mihai Lukács
It is an honor and a privilege for me as a Roma actor to be able to bring to life important moments in the history of one of the most respected guilds in the community - the florists. In 2017, when I started working on the project "Bambina, Queen of Flowers" I did not realize how broad the subject of florists in Bucharest is. The intimate connections between the history of florists and the history of Bucharest or the history of Roma emancipation in Romania unfolded during the documentation. What is impressive once you enter this world of flowers is the richness of the intangible heritage that accompanies it: songs, dress and traditions. The music for the show includes several authentic pieces from the urban folklore related to the florists' guild and even to Bambina herself. The story of Bambina's life and her celebration are proof that the memory of the community made her a true heroine of the times in which she lived: an icon.
However, the show also raises questions about the future of the profession and its survival in a society in which not infrequently the Roma and implicitly the families of florists are exploited socially, politically and economically.
- Alex Fifea
It is well known that in our Roma community, when we talk about women, there are several prejudices and stereotypes that make us believe that women are not active when it comes to business; that the woman has to walk three steps behind the man and sit in the kitchen. Here we bring in front of our spectators this model woman, the Roma woman who broke through in a patriarchal society.
- Zita Moldovan
The text Bambina, the Queen of Flowers was written collectively. My colleagues and I conducted a lot of research. Part of the text was written following the verbatim method, they are transcribed interviews. My stake in this project is to deconstruct the idea of patriarchy, with the example of a strong woman, Bambina. I think it is time for a shift from the discourse of men being strong and doing everything in society. There are also women who do a lot of things and who receive very little attention.
- Andrei Șerban
For me, the work on this project was very tender in terms of visual documentation that I made with my colleagues - during the interviews I entered several houses of Roma florists, and I could admire special interiors, decorated in an eclectic style, where traditional is interwoven with new. I spent some time in the flower market and in the florists' inventory archive to find materials related to the craft. A small part of them can be found in the scenography of the show Bambina. Thus, I met a rich and colorful maximalist visual universe.
‘And this nostalgic atmosphere, as well as the scenery imagined with barren, ill-lit, merely indicative set elements seemed so intimate that it went great with the macro story in which Bambina's life events are placed: the history of the Roma florists in the world-war torn capital, and the politicized present of today’s florists.'Helikon
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1: ©ARTHUB_Zita Moldovan
3: ©ARTHUB_Alex Fifea, Zita Moldovan, Andrei Șerban
5: ©ARTHUB_Zita Moldovan, Alex Fifea, Andrei Șerban