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COLLATERAL EVENT OF THE 58TH INTERNATIONAL
ART EXHIBITION — LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA
CURATED BY DANIEL BAKER
COMMISSIONED BY ERIAC

FONDAMENTA ZATTERE ALLO SPIRITO SANTO 417
11 MAY – 24 NOVEMBER 2019

Curatorial Concept

FUTUROMA draws upon aspects of Afrofuturism to explore Roma contemporary art’s role in defining, reflecting and influencing Roma culture. FUTUROMA offers new and spontaneous re-interpretations of Roma pasts, presents and futures via a fusion of the traditional and the futuristic in order to critique the current situation for Roma people and to re-examine historical events. Imagining Roma bodies in speculative futures offers a counter-narrative to the reductive ways that Roma culture has been understood and constructed—thereby moving our cultural expression beyond the restrictive motifs of oppression toward a radical and progressive vision of Roma to come. The confluence of traditional knowledge and contemporary art practice evident within FUTUROMA combines to highlight possibilities for different ways of being. Here, artworks are rooted in the techniques and traditions of the Roma diaspora, but at the same time decisively forward-looking. The acts of remembering and imagining manifest within these artworks point toward ambitious visions of life-affirming futures and at the same time allow reinterpretation our collective pasts.

 

In their unique manner, each of the artworks on display in FUTUROMA variously employ and deconstruct different aspects of the primeval, the everyday and the futuristic. These objects move between the familiar and the unexpected, taking us beyond the confines of time and place to a different kind of objectivity—to a place to see anew. New site-specific works emphasize the implications of materiality—physical stuff that takes up space in the world. After all, it is the Roma’s physical presence that is continually contested, marked by questions of where and how we are permitted to exist.

 

As well as being a means to re-discover Roma history in an impactful and engaging way the project is a chance to envision a future where Roma truly belong. Daniel Baker, the curator states that “As Roma, we are too often told that we have no future—that we remain relics of the past. FUTUROMA draws together visions of our future to present an alternative perspective informed by all that came before and the promise of all that can be, placing us firmly in the here and now.”

 

FUTUROMA features 14 Romani artists from 8 countries: Celia Baker, Ján Berky, Marcus-Gunnar-Pettersson, Ödön Gyügyi, Billy Kerry, Klára Lakatos, Delaine Le Bas, Valérie Leray, Emília Rigová, Markéta Šestáková, Selma Selman, Dan Turner, Alfred Ullrich, László Varga

 

With the support of the: Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Council of Europe Venice Office, Open Society Foundations, Stiftung Kommunikationsaufbau, Max Kohler Stiftung, UNAR (Ufficio Nazionale Antidiscriminazioni Razziali) and Michael Schmidt Foundation.

 

DANIEL BAKER

Daniel Baker is a Romani Gypsy artist, researcher, and curator. Originally from Kent, now based in London, his work is exhibited internationally and can be found in collections across the globe. Baker earned a PhD in 2011 from the Royal College of Art, with his dissertation, “Gypsy Visuality: Gell’s Art Nexus and its Potential for Artists,” after previously earning a MA in Sociology/Gender and Ethnic Studies from Greenwich University, and a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Ravensbourne College of Art and Design.
Baker has contributed to numerous exhibitions, held various residencies, and curated several commissions. He previously worked as an exhibitor and consultant for the first and second Roma events at the International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia – “Paradise Lost” and “Call the Witness,” which took place during the 52nd and 54th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, respectively. In 2018, after hosting an open call for curators, an international jury consisting of Professor Dr. Ethel Brooks, Tony Gatlif, Miguel Ángel Vargas, and ERIAC management selected him to curate the Roma Collateral Event.
Baker’s work examines the role of art in the enactment of social agency through an eclectic practice that interrogates contemporary art discourse and its social implications via the reconfiguration of elements of the Roma aesthetic. For more information about Baker and his revolutionary work, visit www.danielbaker.net