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Leading Romani activist Ágnes Daróczi to appear in Prague Monday

26.11.2016 7:54
Ágnes Daróczi. (PHOTO:  RomAcademy)
Ágnes Daróczi. (PHOTO: RomAcademy)

As part of a festival called "RomAcademy:  Days of Living Romanes", which is dedicated to making the Romanes language visible in the public space, the eminent Hungarian Romani activist Ágnes Daróczi will appear in Prague. This important promoter of the European Romani movement will participate in a panel debate on "Romanes as a creative language", which will take place on 28 November at 15:30 in the small hall of the Minor Theater in Prague.

"At the beginning of the Romani cultural movement in Europe, the First National Exhibition of Romani Self-Taught Artists, which was organized in 1979 by Ágnes Daróczi at the Pataky Cultural Center in Budapest, Hungary, was a seminal cultural event," explains curator Timea Junghaus. "That exhibition drew attention to Romani culture for the first time ever on an international scale, won many adherents to the work, and had a long-term, positive impact on the artwork of Romani people in Central and Eastern Europe."

Daróczi was born the first of five children in the Bedő Romani settlement not far from Hungary's border with Romania. She was one of the first Hungarian Romani women to earn a college degree.

She graduated from a teaching program for secondary school with a qualification for Hungarian language and literature. In 1978, she and her husband János Bársony established the "Kalyi jag" music group, which was one of the first musical formations with a Romani repertoire to break through internationally thanks to interest in so-called "world music".

Daróczi organized a total of three comprehensive exhibitions of the work of self-taught Romani visual artists (in 1979, 1989 and the year 2000) and brought Romani art, which had been ignored before then, into the light. Her biggest success in her work for Hungarian Television (1992-2000) includes the broadcasting of an eight-hour block of programming honoring the memory of the Romani Holocaust, which included the participation of leading Romani figures, on 2 August 1994.

She also initiated the construction of the Memorial to the Romani Holocaust, which was unveiled in Budapest in 2006 and which has become the location of an annual gathering to commemorate the European Roma Holocaust. Daróczi is publcly engaged in all questions that are somehow connected with the rights of Romani people, and not just in Hungary, through the Phralipe Romani organization.

The activist participated in demonstrations against the paramilitary Hungarian Guard (which is currently dissolved by the courts) and coordinated aid to the Romani families afflicted by the series of racist murders that happened in Hungary in 2008-2009. Daróczi will visit Prague where, in addition to participating in the Days of Living Romanes festival, she will support the RomArchive project, a digital archive about Roma and Sinti financed by the German Federal Cultural Foundation (Kulturstiftung des Bundes), where she is a member of the advisory council. 

press release of RomAcademy, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Culture, Hungary, Prague, Romani language



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