Color, draw, paste! A coloring project by Raluca Popa

01 July 2022

Color them. Draw upon them. Make a collage. It’s really up to you. 

Selected by Raluca Popa from a sketchbook made by her father in the mid-1960s, the drawings here — for children and adults alike — are an invitation to have some quiet time to yourself or share a moment of learning and participation with family. They might bring to mind memories of childhood, offer a chance to talk about the past with children, prompt you to revisit family activities or inspire new ones.

This coloring project is a collateral event of the online exhibition Time Lines: Raluca Popa. 

  1. Download the drawings below.
  2. Intervene upon them.
  3. Share your images on social media with the hashtag #GaepColoring & tag us: (Instagram), @gaepgallery (Facebook).

In her artistic practice, Raluca Popa often works with archives – of her family or of her own. Drawings made by her father, such as the ones above, have spurred several animations, while the artist’s collection of test papers from her middle and high-school years is at the core of her latest work, showcased in the online exhibition Time Lines: Raluca Popa.


Raluca Popa shares her view on the drawings for coloring.

On the emotions and memories that her father’s drawings elicit

“I can’t say for sure when exactly the drawings were made. They are from around 1965. They predate me. I developed a kind of familiarity or closeness with the drawings, which was, of course, not available at first. Just by looking at them repeatedly, year after year, I became accustomed to them, memorised them, and through this effort, or loyalty, I feel I have earned the right to work with them.”

On why she chose these three drawings in particular

“I wanted to stir something, to challenge the viewer with this choice. I will temporarily title the first two drawings In the field (La câmp) and In the park (În parc). They are illustrative, perhaps too much so, for our emancipated eye. They tell a story, but nothing unheard of. They are oppositional in what they show, with a very clear separation between adult and child life. And yet, in a way, they are the same thing, an opaque mass for which we may well be unable to feel anything.

The third drawing, which depicts a human figure, I chose for obvious reasons. I used it in a previous work (Fig. 5) and was curious to see what further transformations it might undergo. I can’t exactly express in words the feeling that the female silhouette arouses in me by the way she seems to reveal, as for the first time, the mystery of the right angle. I love her frankness, her confidence.

It could work like this: the first two drawings are selected by the child in me, and the last one by the more mature version.”

On letting them go into the world so that other people intervene upon them

“At first, I considered the option of retracing the pencil marks with a black marker to make them look more like drawings in a colouring book. But this gesture would have cancelled them out. I try to work with the material in the form it came to me. 

I’m mostly drawn to figuring out how to approach this material without trying to explain it. Based on their history, it is easy to go in this direction and read them as portraits of a certain period. I try to free myself from such reflexes. I want to work in the same space with this material, I want to coexist with it. When I let the drawings “go out into the world”, I am actually testing ways of coexistence.

These drawings remind me of those more complex illustrations in colouring books, full of fine details, that I used to save for last. And, in most cases, I never finished them, because it took me so long to colour everything else before them. I got older and lost interest. I’d say the drawings in this selection would qualify as difficult, just like those last unfinished drawings from the past.”

On engaging children and adults alike

“I’m not sure who these drawings would be more suitable for. Of course, opening them up to everyone makes the discourse around them more interesting. 

One can continue them, delete them or ignore them altogether. I’m interested to see which method the person who decides to use them will prefer. It’s also kind of selfish on my part, in that I’m curious to see if these materials, which I use in my work, make any sense outside of my imagination or the reasoning behind the personal decision to use them.”

”It could work like this: the first two drawings are selected by the child in me, and the last one by the more mature version.” – Raluca Popa

The coloring project is part of Time Lines, that presents three online exhibitions and several online and offline collateral events focused on the drawing practices of Ignacio Uriarte (18 April – 29 May), Raluca Popa (30 May – 10 July) and Răzvan Anton (11 July – 21 August).

Organised by: Asociația Culturală Eastwards Prospectus

Co-financed by: The Administration of the National Cultural Fund (AFCN)

Media Partners: igloo, Curatorial, IQads, Radio România Cultural, Revista ARTA

The project does not necessarily represent the position of the AFCN. The AFCN is neither responsible for the project content nor for the way in which the project results may be used. These are entirely the responsibility of the grant beneficiary.