Welcome to Inside Full of Color, my exploration of the arts in 21st century Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). *
My premise is that as CEE becomes steadily and increasingly more important geopolitically and economically, the arts –design, contemporary art, film, music, theatre/dance, literature and fashion— from the region will also play increasingly important roles, gaining momentum and popularity not only across the rest of Europe but internationally. I believe that over the next decade CEE will become one of the dominant artistic forces across the globe.
I am a child of the Cold War—in 1989 when I was graduating from high school in Michigan, the Berlin Wall was coming down; I was going through my own personal transition from teenager to adult while a whole region of Europe was turning from socialist to democratic societies (aside from the ex-Yugoslavia which was about to go into a tragic tailspin). During most of the Cold War it was practically impossible to visit most countries of CEE, so I grew up thinking this section of the world was off limits to me, which made it all the more intriguing and compelling.
Since 1997, when I first dipped my toes into the former Eastern Bloc on a day trip to Bratislava with my brothers, I have been travelling and working across CEE; I have lived for extended periods of time in Poland and have reported from most of the new member states of the European Union, as well as the countries that make up the former Yugoslavia. While I hate to lump all countries together as one region (as so many people do, ignoring how unique the history, economics, society, culture and geopolitics are in each place) the point of this web magazine is to highlight the diversity and richness of the arts in CEE.
So how to define CEE (which became the standard politically correct label for a region that used to be called Eastern Europe)? For my subjective purposes I am defining CEE as the new member states, (excluding, obviously, Malta and Cyprus which also joined the EU in 2004), Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Albania and the countries that make up the former Yugoslavia. Wondering about the name of the site? Well, it comes from a conversation I had with a young Polish designer I interviewed in the spring of 2010. Having worked and studied in Milan and London, she decided to come back to Warsaw to co-found a design collective. She told me when she first came back to Poland, she was bummed out by how grey all the buildings were (and had forgotten how many shades of grey there could be). But, she pontificated, inside these drab foundations, they were full of color—people doing amazing, creative things. Taking quick notes, I wrote her comment as “inside=full of color.” I think it’s a great analogy for the arts in CEE.
- As of January 2017, this website has been mothballed and will only serve as an archive. Please check out she-files.com, my latest project that is focused on the great achievements women are making across the globe