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Stories from diaspora // Constantin Botezat – the young artist from Moldova who gathered his experience in 5 different countries

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Constantin Botezat is a talented artist who comes from the Republic of Moldova. Generating harmony between painting and graphic design is a part of his daily work. His works were exhibited in London, New York, Los Angeles and even Hollywood. He accepted to tell us his story.

About his first art ‘manifesto’

Since his childhood, Constantin has been passioned by art in all its different shapes and forms. He was lucky to have parents that noticed his excitement and contributed to its development. Consequently, Constantin became a student at the Igor Vieru Academic School of Fine Arts in Chișinău. Still, there is one more decisive element besides his passion and the parents’ support – the mentorship provided by his teachers. “The greatest influence was exercised by my school teachers who had a great impact on my life,” says Constantin.

His first exhibition took place at the “Târgu Mureș” Library from Chișinău.

“I was a 15 years old teenager at that time, with a strong desire to express myself but, at the same time, a little unconfident because of the society and the surrounding atmosphere.”

Since that moment, Constantin changed a lot. Today, he is a perseverant, determined, talented, bold and, what is more important, a self-reliant artist who knows for sure that hard work results in desires and dreams fulfillment.

After high school, he studied Design and Applied Arts at the University of Art and Design in Cluj-Napoca and Graphic Design at the Academy of Art in Bari. Constantin gathered his first experience while collaborating with a contemporary art gallery in Cluj-Napoca. Afterwards, he did some internships in Lisbon and London. “I am enormously grateful that I had the chance to study in all these cities. In all of them I managed to make wonderful friends and to learn about a very exciting world that inspired me to continue this path. In every city I started everything from the scratch.” Constantin plans to write a book one day about all the cultural amalgam experienced during the past four years of his life.

About art creation and expression

“For me, painting and graphic design enter into a dialogue. I think both are based on the same principles.” At present, Constantin is doing an internship as a graphic art designer at a British magazine and, in parallel, organizes his own art exhibitions in London. One of his goals is to become an art manager and coordinate a team of artists “who will bring a fresh view into the art world,” as he states.

He has a busy schedule, but all his work culminates with wonderful results. “Up till now, I managed to organize 38 national and international exhibitions. The purpose of these exhibitions was actually to promote the image of the Romanian people, traditions and culture,” highlights Constantin. Recently, Constantin opened his exposition called “The spirit of the Bessarabian landscape” which was a part of an event organized by the EBRD cultural program and the Embassy of the Republic of Moldova in the UK.

2016 was a special year for Constantin. His paintings were exhibited in the USA. “I always wanted to create transoceanic exhibitions and art projects. As I had this opportunity to go to the US, I started to create a series of works that I have presented at several exhibitions.” The first event took place at the Alpine Art Gallery in Salt Lake City, Utah, followed by a Hollywood event at the Zen Art Gallery and the third event was organized at the Hive Gallery in Los Angeles. During all this time, Constantin had the support of his American and Romanian friends, for which he is extremely grateful.

Constantin Botezat and his friend Carson Mcallister, who helped him to organize the exhibitions in the USA

That was only the beginning. “These events certainly made me much more self-confident and determined to create more. I realised that everything is in our hands and anyone is able to create whatever he wants regardless of nationality, religion, or gender.” Next, international exhibitions were organised by Constantin in New York, Lisbon and London.

All these public presentations represent for him a possibility to have a direct contact with the public who is interested in artistic values and searches for inspiration, according to the young painter. This year, Constantin was able to participate in 3 group exhibitions, all of which took place in London at the Espacio Gallery.

Nowadays, Constantin lives and works in London, which he considers a great city with lots of opportunities. “Through the magazine I work at, I had the chance to meet many personalities from cinematography, fashion, painting. I managed to attend film festivals and premieres. Also, I managed to meet international actors, to go to London Fashion Week and take pictures of new collections. Still, I think London is just one chapter of my activity, the most interesting is yet to come,” says Constantin.

Our protagonist is an artist with pragmatic views. He sees the creation process as an instinctive one: “I think most artists feel when a work is completed.” At the same time, he tries to be well-organized, while being guided by his goals: “I think in this way I become more motivated to get the things done and to reach the desired result.”

About the young generation of artists from Moldova

Constantin expressed his hope for a better future for his homeland – Moldova, through implementing correct reforms. He says that anyone who wants it, should have the possibility to leave. However, it is important to not forget where you started from and to come back, eventually.

“Certainly, many students at arts in the Republic of Moldova dream to continue their studies abroad and I think that is a beautiful purpose. I would love to know that more and more people receive the opportunity to study and travel around the world, as these experiences help to see the world with new eyes and, on the other hand, to cherish the things that have already been achieved.”

Constantin thinks that the young artists from Moldova are very talented and have a tremendous potential. “The most important thing for them is to be self-reliant and to get support from their parents. It is important to invest in the education of new generations because they represent the future of our country,” states Constantin.

Photos: personal archive

Culture

A building from Chișinău was declared “the ugliest building in the world”

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The “Romanița” building in the center of the Moldovan capital has been named by the French journalists as “the ugliest building in the world” in a documentary produced by Arte TV. The film is part of a French project that talks about socialist buildings, which are now abandoned.

This disappointed the artist from Moldova Tatiana Fiodorova, who appears as the protagonist in the documentary film and afterwards filed a complaint against the French channel Arte.TV.  “The documentary is more like an anti-communist horror movie than a research film. They cut and pasted the sequences in such a way that it changed the meaning of the words I said during the interview,” claimed the artist. Shortly after, Arte.TV renamed the documentary to “Moldova: The Colossal Communist Tower”.

Source: noi.md

The “Romanița” building has a height of about 73 meters, being the second tallest building in Chișinău. It has 22 floors, out of which 16 are inhabited by over 300 residents. A few years ago, this building attracted the attention of a team of Polish designers who made a selection of constructions from Eastern European countries that deserve attention, and which in time would degrade if no one intervenes.

In 2009, “Romanița” inspired Tatiana Fiodorova to realise an art project where she presented the uniqueness of this construction and the need to keep it. In this regard, she was contacted by several French journalists from Arte.TV who proposed to talk about the project and about the history of this building. “The filming for the documentary took 2 days. I talked about the project and how we collaborated with the locals, to give this building a new chance. The film’s producers asked me to invite some locals I told about. Some of them accepted. Now, the meaning of their message was transformed into a political one, although during the filming there was no ideological context, ” argued the artist.

Photo: noi.md

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Society

Violence against women in Moldova. Facts and figures

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The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) launched the “Break the Silence” campaign in the Republic of Moldova and throughout Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, on the occasion of the annual 16-Day Activism Against Violence campaign. According to the OSCE research, women who face violence in Moldova rarely contact the police.

OSCE Study

The study revealed that three out of four women think that violence against women (VAW) is common in Moldova. Cases of VAW remain under-reported to police and other specialised organisations because of a lack of trust in institutions among women and a limited specialised services for survivors of violence. Also, according to the survey conducted within the OSCE study, one third of women personally know someone subjected to domestic violence among their family and friends, and the same percentage within their local neighbourhood. Two out of five women say that they have experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 15 by a partner or non-partner.

Therefore, just as in other countries where the survey was conducted – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Ukraine – violence against women remains a huge social problem in Moldova, as well as a serious violation of human rights and the most serious form of discrimination against women. “The research conducted by the OSCE is essential for raising awareness with policy and lawmakers, but also the general public, law enforcement agencies and many other stakeholders. […] Attitudes, norms, and beliefs that justify violence against women need to be tackled at their root, as they continue to perpetuate this grave human rights violation. This survey provides the information needed to take action,” said Serani Siegel, OSCE Project Manager.

National statistics

According to a study conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), violence against women is more common among women in rural areas, the phenomenon is more often with the age of the woman and it is indirectly related to her level of education. The married women are more reluctant to report cases of violence and, consequently, the highest rates of reported VAW is recorded for divorced women and widows.

60% of women from Moldova reported at least one form of psychological violence, while physical violence was disclosed by about 40% of women. About 19% of women said they suffered sexual violence at least once in their life. (Violence against women report, NBS, 2011)

13 women were killed by one family member, and another 22 women lost their lives as a result of traumas caused by their partners since 2018, as NGOs official data revealed.

Most of the time, the women do not report the cases of violence because they are afraid of the aggressor, they are blamed by the society, they do not trust the authorities and the judiciary, they do not have sufficient financial resources and employment opportunities (especially if they have children), and the support services are insufficient or even missing.

Istanbul Convention

Several organisations and representatives of civil society are calling for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention) until the end of 2019. The NGOs from Moldova also launched an appeal the President of the Parliament of Moldova Zinaida Greceanîi and to Prime Minister Ion Chicu.

The Istanbul Convention is currently the most effective international tool to ensure the prevention and fight against VAW, being based on the belief that VAW seriously violates the fundamental rights to life, security, freedom, dignity, physical and emotional integrity of women. The document calls on implementation of comprehensive and coordinated policies against this type of violence, governmental support for specialised non-governmental organisations (NGOs), collection of relevant data, changes in social and cultural models for eradication of prejudices, customs, traditions and other practices, which are based on the idea of ​​inferiority of women or on stereotypical roles for women and men.

The document also provides for the development of support services for victims, raising awareness, education and training of professionals, participation of private sector and media in preventing and combating violence, etc.

The Istanbul Convention was signed by Moldova on February 6th, 2017 but until now its ratification has been delayed, even though the representatives of the Government and the Parliament have repeatedly assumed a public commitment in this regard.

Legal measures

Moldova is part of the European Convention on Human Rights since September 12th, 1997. The Convention is the main instrument within the Council of Europe for guaranteeing fundamental human rights. Moldova also has an obligation not to infringe the guaranteed rights and freedoms and to ensure adequate judicial protection.

Since 2008, the Republic of Moldova regulated domestic violence, adopting the Law on Preventing and Combating Domestic Violence. The law prohibits the aggressor from approaching victims for a specific period. Still, the authorities do not have an effective mechanism of protection, as the victim is rarely offered a place in a specialised centre, psychological counselling and material assistance.

In 2017, the Government of the Republic of Moldova adopted the National Strategy on Prevention and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence for 2018-2023 and the National Action Plan for 2018-2020 regarding its implementation.

NGOs

The National Coalition “Life without domestic violence” is an informal platform that gathered 21 NGOs and public institutions that try to do their best in their work to prevent and fight against domestic violence.

The Coalition members managed to provide telephone counselling, emergency and long-term psychological counselling, legal, primary and qualified assistance, social assistance, financial support, material and placement to 5600 beneficiaries, working in 1681 localities with the direct involvement of 200 specialists.

There are also local projects supported by international organisations involved in fighting against VAW. One of them is “Combating violence against women in the Republic of Moldova: exploring and learning from local solutions” – a pilot project from Autonomous Territorial Unit (ATU) Gagauzia, supported by UNDP Moldova.  The purpose of this project is to help the local implementation of the the National Strategy on Prevention and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence for 2018-2023 and to use the lessons learned, as well as the results of the initiative proposed in the pilot project, for offering improved policy recommendations to the decision makers.

Photo: Tumisu – Pixabay

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Economy

The state budget for the next year includes a deficit of 7 billion lei. Why this could be a problem?

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On November 27th, the Government of the Republic of Moldova approved the draft budget for the next year. The document displays revenues of over 44 billion lei and expenditures of 51 billion lei. Thus, a budget deficit of 7.4 billion lei was calculated, whereas a lower amount- 6.1 billion lei – was previously presented at the meeting of the National Commission for Collective Consultations and Negotiations on November 25th.

Assurances vs doubts

“The budget deficit difference of 1.3 billion lei is the equivalent of an eventual investment loan for the development of road infrastructure,” explained Minister of Finance Sergei Pușcuța. The minister explained that the deficit will be financed by loans on the internal market, issuance of securities ​​and privatisation of public assets, yet he didn’t provide too many details about it. “The real budget deficit is 2.6 billion lei only,” added Pușcuța.

The internal state debt is expected to not exceed 25.7 billion lei, and the external state debt is forecasted to be 41.8 billion lei at the end of the next year, according to the projections made by the Ministry of Finance.

On the other hand, former Minister of Finance Natalia Gavriliță criticised the decision of the current Government, saying that it is taking irresponsible actions. “The Government increased overnight the state budget deficit to 7.4 billion lei, or 3.25% of GDP. The draft budget was approved without the Government publishing the annexes or the informative notes to the budget. The Minister of Finance avoided to specify how this deficit will be financed. These decisions, which will affect our country in the coming years, are taken with maximum irresponsibility,” the former Minister of Finance said.

The main public expenditures

The main focus of the future public expenditures are investments in infrastructure, creating jobs and increasing people’s well-being, according to an official statement made on the Government official page. That is why, a series of social projects and expenditures were approved, such as granting an unique support for people that receive a low level of pensions and allowances, increasing the cold weather allowance, pension indexation for former military corps, etc.  “We are a Government that is focused on people. That is why we came up with these projects. There is financial coverage for these projects,” said Prime Minister Ion Chicu. The coverage, as the head of Government mentioned, will be provided from the estimated difference in social security revenues, which are expected to be 2 billion lei higher than the revenues in 2019.

Money from abroad

Next year, the Government expects to receive more than 8 billion lei from abroad, according to the annex to the state budget, prepared by the Ministry of Finance, out of which 109.7 million lei in the form of grants received from other states’ Governments, 1.6 billion from donations received from international organisations and 6.3 billion lei from foreign received loans.

At the same time, the US Ambassador to the Republic of Moldova, Dereck J. Hogan, emphasised that external partners want to see a Government implementing reforms, otherwise the country will be lacking financial support. “The PSRM-ACUM coalition had more potential to implement the necessary reforms. Now we expect this to be done by the current Government. […] We want the current Government to continue implementing reforms in the same way. External partners insist on continuing to implement reforms. If external partners, including the US, will not see progress, of course we will stop funding,” the ambassador said.

“Moldova has now a new government, and the need for genuine reforms remains,” stated Federica Mogherini during a speech at the European Parliament Plenary debate on eastern neighbourhood developments. So the external source of financing for Moldova remains conditioned and, therefore, is not certain.

World Bank projections

According to the World Bank economic projections for the Republic of Moldova, the budget revenues was going to reach 29.5% of GDP (66.25 billion lei), while the budget expenditures was going to represent 31.6% of GDP (70.97 billion lei) in 2020. Consequently, a lower budget deficit was expected – 4.72 billion lei. The public external debt was forecasted to raise to 146.43 billion lei, as compared to its actual value of 122.74 billion in 2018. Thus, it is not clear yet how the Ministry of Finance calculated the value of 41.8 billion lei for the state external debt  and whether the values included in the state budget, as well as the Government promises to cover the budget deficit reflect the reality.

Next, there draft budget law will be examined in up to 3 readings in the Parliament, based on an explanatory statement of the Government and the reports’ presentation by specialised committees.  If it’s the case, the necessary changes will be made and the state budget law will be adopted.

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