Timea Junghaus for Romea.cz: Romani artists have the potential to create an innovative Romani identity
At the beginning of June the grand opening of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) was held in Berlin. News server Romea.cz broadcast the press conference live and filmed a brief interview (above) with its Executive Director, the historian Timea Junghaus, who aided with the creation of the institute.
Junghaus is an art historian and scholar at the Art History Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. She also founded the European Cultural Foundation for Romani Culture (www.romacult.org).
She is also the founder of Galerie8 - a space for contemporary art (www.gallery8.org) and was the curator of the first-ever Romani artists' pavilion at the 52nd Biennale of Contemporary Art in Venice. In 2007 she was awarded the Kairos-European Cultural Prize for her work.
In the interview, Junghaus describes her role in lobbying for the creation of ERIAC. She also stressed that her efforts did not influenc her appointment as director, which involved a lengthy selection procedure.
Junghaus said she wants ERIAC to play the same role as similar institutes in Berlin and that fundraising for what she called ERIAC's "big plans" was important. Romani artists, authors, poets and thinkers are said to now be working on how to contribute.
The ERIAC Executive Director said the institute would concentrate on shaping the academic discourse about Romani people and their art and culture. She believes this has the potential to create an innovative Romani identity.
The opening ceremony on 8 June was organized by the German Foreign Ministry, the Alliance for a European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, the Council of Europe and the Open Society Foundations. ERIAC is envisoined as a public venue for presenting the talent and wealth of Roma art, culture and history and for demonstrating that Romani people have contributed to European culture.
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