About the Roma Biennale

Photo: ©Nihad Nino Pušija

Jell On, Phens and Phrallas!

By Damian Le Bas, Delaine Le Bas and Hamze Bytyçi

“Gypsy Europa is my dream, just like Martin Luther King’s dream. My maps are a subversive imaginary conquest, a Roma resistance against racism and right wing propaganda. I cannot read and write very well so my art is my voice and weapon for my Roma resistance. We Roma need to stop splitting hairs about our differences and start to celebrate what we have in common. The hunt is on and we are the prey, Eastern and Western Europe have a history of Genocide, it happened again in the Balkans in our recent history.”

Damian Le Bas for Roma Army

We come from a place where people make you think that your dreams cannot become reality. But we believe in magic moments when all elements come together and the impossible can become possible. This First Roma Biennale is a collaboration of the Romani self-organization RomaTrial, Maxim Gorki Theatre and Studio Я as the “headquarters,” of Roma and Non-Roma from across Europe. The idea of Roma Biennale can morph and change in time and adapt to the place it’s happening in. It’s about thinking of new ways of doing things, as fluid as life itself. That’s why the First Roma Biennale is focusing on performance art. We ask where does everybody belong and if there are other, self-determined and artistic ways of defining this? We make the intersection of racism, sexism and homophobia visible and show that the boundaries of hostility to “the others” are easily shifted – and that at some point each of us belongs to a minority.

We therefore call on minorities of all kinds: COME OUT NOW! Stand in solidarity with each other! As the initiator of the First Roma Biennale has put it:

“From being perceived as Tramps and Thieves with togetherness we can become the Kings & Queens of Gypsyland Europa. After all, wouldn’t Europe be a more boring place without us Gypsies?”

From the 1st Roma Biennale website.

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