Thursday, February 17, 2011
Over the years I've photographed many socialist-realist murals throughout the region. They are still commonly found in train and bus stations, schools and universities, museums and other public buildings. Some have been destroyed as modernisation processes have taken hold, and there is often little interest or care for them shown by the local citizens, so I think it's important to document these fascinating works of art before they disappear.
This pair of photographs are of the murals found in the train station in Hunedoara, Romania. They face each other on opposite walls of the ticket hall. The first mural shows a group of workers in the steel mills, a hive of productive, purposeful activity. The three workers in the centre are all cooperating on a common goal, representing the socialist ideal. The second shows the workers enjoying the happy life they have built together, represented by a nature scene with a group enjoying a picnic. In the background it's possible to see the steel mills of Hunedoara with smoke rising from the chimneys, the source of the prosperity for those at play in the foreground.
The train station building is also unique, it has a tall spire on the roof with a red star attached, representing the city's importance as a major hub of communist industry and production. Nowadays, most of the steel mills and factories have closed, but the train station murals remain as images of its former glory days.