Arts and Artists as Intermediaries in Identity Management and Ethnomanagement: Examples from the German Minority in Hungary and the Hungarian and German Minorities in Transylvania
My research on arts and artists in connection with minority issues centers around the fact that both serve as crucial instruments in the creation of the collective identity of a particular ethnic group. Moreover, my results should demonstrate that arts and artists passively are used and actively act as intermediaries in the identity management and ethnomanagement of minorities.
Further issues of this broad heading will be: the visible effects, if an artist belongs to a minority, if an artist feels he or she belongs to a minority, and the influence of this on his or her work. What are the reasons for an organizational commitment to the identity management and ethnomanagement of his/her ‘own ethnic group’ and vice versa?
Answers to these questions are based on research on the German minority in Hungary (Ungarndeutsche) and the Hungarians (erdélyi magyarok) and Germans (Siebenbürger Sachsen, Banater Schwaben) in Transylvania. The examples will be divided on the basis of the different genres of literature and the fine arts: concerning minority literature the focus will be on the interaction of literature and the intentional use of the minority language as an ethnic marker. Furthermore, the reciprocity of minority literature and ethno-political careers will be reflected in some biographical examples. Fine arts have the advantage, unlike literature, that they are a priori a universally understandable medium, and the paper will elaborate on the following topics: the question of which artistic works (e.g. statues, emblems on buildings, monuments) are directly linked to the culture of remembrance of the abovementioned ethnic groups and to what extent is fine arts important as a means of representing the German and Hungarian minorities in public space as a form of the “visual materialization” of ethnic identity and ethnic politics?