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The Hidden Galleries Project

This Hidden Galleries is a four-year project funded by the European Research Council (project no. 677355). The project concerns the role of the religious underground in the transformation of Central and Eastern Europe societies in the 20th century seen through the prism of the secret police archives in the region.

The archives of the fascist and communist-era secret police, in addition to containing millions of files on individuals and organisations monitored by the state, also constitute a hidden repository of religious art, publications, photographs and the ephemera of religious life confiscated by the secret police. Many religious communities, but especially religious minorities, were repressed and persecuted in the twentieth century under both fascism and communism and their visual and literary creative responses to authoritarian rule have remained concealed in vast storehouses of secret files. The aim of the project to retrieve examples of this visual and literary material from the archives in order to shed fresh light on the role that local and minority religious groups played in challenging the hegemonic order through their creative artistic and cultural production. The project offers a perspectival shift on the value and uses of the secret police archives away from questions of historical “truth” and high profile political leaders or religious actors to the “grass-roots” experience of ordinary citizens and their cultural and religious creative products.

The project employs a range of approaches including archival historical and ethnographic studies, public exhibitions and events and a digital collection and exhibitions. You can explore the project events, exhibitions and publications at http://hiddengalleries.eu/

The Hidden Galleries Research and Curatorial Team





Since 2005 researchers from Sarajevo Graphics Group laboratory, founded at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, are exploring applications of computer graphics in cultural heritage digitization, presentation and preservation. As such projects request engagement of interdisciplinary teams of experts from computer science, history, archaeology, literature, visual and film arts, music and media, they established in 2010 the DIGI.BA Association, gathering all people involved in digital heritage applications production. DIGI.BA expertise is interactive digital storytelling, as a form of conveying information adjusted to Internet and the modern media. Historical information is divided in parts connected into hierarchical structures, overcoming the short attention span of the viewers. Cultural monuments and museum artefacts are virtually reconstructed and presented using interactive 3D environments, populated with actors recreating life in the past. Virtual and Augmented Reality applications they produce are online, enabling virtual visits to cultural heritage objects and sites. Museum collections are extended with digital content that gives the visitors possibility to experience cultural heritage.

At the moment DIGI.BA is a partner in Creative Europe project Real Heroes and several regional and local projects. More info at www.digi.ba

Production Team

digital stories scenarios FATMIR ALISPAHIC
teleprompter IMAN OSMANAGIC
3D modelling: AIDA SADZAK
graphics designer and producer SELMA RIZVIC


We are extremely grateful to the following archival institutions for allowing us to reproduce materials for this exhibition:

- National Archives of the Republic of Moldova (Arhiva Națională a Republicii Moldova – ANRM - incluzând materiale din Arhiva Serviciului de Informații și Securitate al Republicii Moldova – ASISRM)
- State Archive Branch of the Security Services of Ukraine (Галузевий державний архів Служби безпеки України – HDA SBU)
- State Archives of Odessa Region, Ukraine (Державний Архів Одеської Області)
- State Archive Branch of the Security Services of Ukraine in Odessa Region (Сектор архівного забезпечення УСБУ в Одеській області (Державний Архів Одеської Області - DAOO)

This collaboration between the Hidden Galleries Project and DIGI was facilitated with the help of nep4dissent COST Action (CA 16213). We are extremely grateful for the help and advice we received from Maciej Maryl, Piotr Wciślik and Jessie Labov and the rest of the COST Action team.

We would like to thank the following individuals for their generous advice and encouragement during the production of this exhibition:
Ágnes Hesz
Kinga Povedák
Iuliana Cindrea-Nagy
Gabriela Nicolescu
Anca Șincan
Siobhán O’Brien
Igor Cașu
Cristina Vățulescu
Lavinia Stan
Catherine Wanner

The following individuals gave valuable advice and support during the research for this exhibition and also generously allowed us to use additional materials and recordings:
Elena Vorontsova
Nadezhda Beliakova
Father Chiprian Grosei
Dumitru Lăpușneanu and Xenia Bucuci
Aliona Yalama
Ivan Polishchuk

Special thanks go to Iuliana Cindrea, Viktor Morkov, Marina Morkova, Pavlo Eremeev, Maria Levytska, Nadezhda Lebedinskaya, Sergei Afanasiev for their help in the Romanian, Russian and Ukrainian texts.

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