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"Wisdom & Reflection", 55th Anniversary Murals by Radu Pandele

Updated: 11 minutes ago

"Wisdom & Reflection" is a pair of striking murals created for the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the Romanian Library/Center/Institute in New York by Radu Pandele, which completes the artist’s evocative series of mirror portraits. The two murals are anchored by two female portraits that subtly capture and reflect their surroundings, transforming a conventional rendering into a canvas of abstraction and symbolism.



The first mural, entitled "Wisdom," is located at the entrance of the institute. It boldly evokes the love for books and reading as well as the cultural significance of literary imagination. The central figure, a woman, is reading a book while being elevated by a protective hand. Her posture is upright yet full of grace and her face is deliberately obscured to create a sense of mystery and nostalgia and to draw the viewer into the narrative.

The hand symbolizes the protective space of a library (or a cultural center), while the sinuous lines and the blend of colors, almost morphing into each other, speak of the intimate connection between person and text. This interweaving of character and hand emphasizes the sanctuary that literature provides, with the portrait itself serving as a vessel of this reflective abstraction.



Almost enveloping the staircase lies the second mural, entitled "Reflection", which proclaims the cultural connections between Romania and the U.S. through the theme of reflection. A large, impressive head, like an ancient Goddess of Wisdom, covers almost the entire wall with her classical statuary allure, educing themes like enlightenment and cultural heritage.  The colors of the American and Romanian flags are cleverly embedded in the composition, appearing in various spots and occasionally merging, to illustrate the intertwined fates and shared values of the two nations. Another symbol depicted is the owl of wisdom, the emblem of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of the Romanian Library/Center/Institute in New York, with its body alluding to the streets of Manhattan, which conjures the ideas of knowledge and insight. The portrait reflects the essence of both flags in a harmonious visual dialogue between the two cultures.

Together, the two murals, collectively named "Wisdom & Reflection", transcend mere portraiture to incite a profound exploration of institutional memory, identity, transatlantic collaboration as well as a deeper interplay between them.


RADU PANDELE is one of the country`s most interesting young artists. Radu`s practice includes painting, muralism, sculpture, mixed media installations, and digital art. His murals can be seen in several cities in Romania & Europe, including Berlin, Germany; Monte Gordo, Portugal; Bialystok, Poland; Grenoble and Briançon, France.

Photo Gallery by Johhny Vacar & Bruce Bybee | RCI New York, June 28, 2024


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