Ladislava Gažiová: Romafuturism means change, the opportunity to reject a distorted history of the Roma
A three-part series of pieces for the website Artalk.cz is dedicated to exhibiting and presenting art by Romani people and has culminated with an interview between the artist Laďa Gažiová and the curator of the tranzit initiative, Tereza Stejskalová. In the interview, Gažiová says that creating a collection of the literature produced by authors who are Romani in Europe is a very important step for emancipating Romani people and raising their self-confidence.
"The literature by authors who are Romani is not well known and is rather difficult to access, so I considered it important to make these books a bit more accessible," she explains when asked what motivated her to open the library. Gažiová emphasizes the purpose of connecting Romafuturism with the concept of Afrofuturism, which comes from the African-American experience and, at a more general level, from African culture and the African diaspora.
"Romani people know what slavery means, lack of acceptance, exclusion, the sterilization of women, displacement, police violence. It is exactly that uprootedness and the impossibility of returning to our own history, our ignorance of our own origin, that is, in my opinion, the problem that Romani people have in common with African-Americans," the artist said.
According to Stejskalová, Romani people, like other colonized nations, represent "a living critique of the violence interwoven into Western modernity." Gažiová said that "Romafuturism, for me, means change, a way to see ourselves directly, a way to reject a distorted history of the Roma, one that was not written by Romani people, and to begin to look at that history through our own eyes, through the eyes of the Roma, to change and redefine it and thereby to also become aware of our own position today, to reject inequality in all areas of life and to look at the future differently. That is a future that non-Roma and Roma will form together."
The entire interview (in Czech) can be read HERE.
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