Statues in winter woolies as Romanian museum bids to aid homeless

1 min

Bucharest (AFP)

Statues at Romania's national art museum sported colourful hats and scarves Wednesday as part of an "appeal against indifference" towards homelessness in one of the EU's poorest member states.

The winter woolies adorned a dozen bronze sculptures in the garden of the National Art Museum of Romania (MNAR) in the campaign set to run through February.

"A museum must protect works of art but also people, especially those in need," museum director Liviu Constantinescu told AFP.

The goal is to "send an artistic message but also an appeal against indifference," Constantinescu added.

The "Sheltered by Art" exhibit in the former royal residence in central Bucharest includes information panels on how to help the homeless.

"We will stop to admire a sculpture, but when we encounter a homeless person we pass by quickly, often visibly annoyed," reads a write-up about the initiative on the museum's website.

No official estimates of the number of homeless among Romania's nearly 20 million people are available, but activists say several thousand are affected in the capital alone.

"Their number remains almost unchanged: some of them reintegrate, but new ones arrive," said Sabina Nicolae, head of Samusocial Romania, which co-organised the exhibit.

The group helps around 1,600 homeless people a year, including families with young children.