Papered nostalgia

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Transylvania: a spellbinding place of irreversible magic one can only surrender to. This world of essence came to light during the Dark Ages under the name of Terra Ultrasilvana—The Land Beyond the Forest. The inhabitants here managed to capture the greatness of the gothic architecture, the splendour of the Renaissance and the imperial baroque.

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This territory holds together the frontiers where civilizations meet, where the Roman-Catholic, Protestant and Christian Orthodox worlds compress each other under their own historical and cultural weight, now turned into the local heritage.

This universe is also Adrian Samoila’s playground, a designer from the town of Oradea whose Born in Transylvania stamp and illustration project succeeded to go back in time and recreate the medieval mystery surrounding the old Transylvanian hamlets. His ambitious project includes collections about the towns of Sibiu, Sighișoara, Brașov and Mediaș.

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Similar to hieroglyphic mysticism, there’s something utterly unique about these Born in Transylvania stamps and illustrations, as if time distilled them in its clepsydra. This makes them irresistible for those in love with the ages of darkness, knights and ladies, fighting duels, monks or alchemists. The medieval engraving style seems rather like illustration embroidering using nostalgic mythical ink that makes you think of memories. There’s a strong emotional connection with the past when looking at this collection of illustrations that open access windows to legends, ideals of humans and places only to be found in this chronicling drawings that describe so well the spirit of the hamlets. They emphasise on the value of the existing heritage, indicating to the essence of the architectural elements that give magic to these places.

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In adapting these images to nowadays trends, Adrian Samoila’s creations belong to a past calling to the present and act as a regional brand for the future, proposing a different type of cultural tourism, with a different eye on what pre-modern Transylvanian settlements were like.

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It is sad though that a majority of the locals don’t show the smallest affection towards the town they live in. How can we repair this temporary amnesia, but with a visual discourse, one may think, hence this story of a 37 years old Oradea-born person on how to work with illustrations in a total different manner to what was known so far.

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Author: Anca Urdea

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