German Professor Michaela Grobbel presents remarks at an art exhibition opening

November 28, 2023
Michaela Grobbel

Michaela Grobbel, Professor of German & Chair of Modern Languages and Literatures, recently presented remarks at the opening of the art exhibition “Ceija Stojka and Scenes of Roma Life" at the Wende Museum in Culver City/Los Angeles. The show displays selected works, including notebooks, by Austrian artist Ceija Stojka (1933-2013) who recorded Romani life and history on canvas. Her work records her horrific experiences in three Nazi concentration camps calling on us to learn from history and to practice respect for people who are “different.” Stojka's paintings also document her experience of traveling with her family in wagons and show beautiful nature scenes that celebrate life despite the most horrific experiences of persecution. Each painting tells a story and contributes to Romani historiography in a striking way. In 2006 Grobbel met the artist in person for the first time. When she saw her many unique paintings stacked up in a small space in her Viennese apartment, she was blown away and decided to share them with our SSU students. Together with Dr. Lorely French from Pacific University in Oregon, she organized the first exhibition in the USA in 2009. About eighty pieces of Stojka's work were displayed at Sonoma State University, Pacific University, and at a gallery in Vermont. The show at the Wende Museum runs through April 7, 2024.