JOAKIM ESKILDSEN and NIHAD NINO PUŠIJA: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY INTO ROMA LIVES
March 25, 2021, 5 pm CET
Federal Foreign Office, Werderscher Markt 1, 10117 Berlin
Live opening on ERIAC Facebook
The exhibition video is also available here:
Camera and editing: Kornél Szilágyi | Music: Sandro Roy and Jermaine Landsberger Trio feat. Giovanni Weiss; Lauenberger Quartett during the Sinti_ze Jazz Concert at Diaspora Europe Festival
This photographic journey into Roma lives traverses series by renowned photographers, Nihad Nino Pušija and Joakim Eskildsen, who each confront the complexity of contemporary Roma portraiture through different artistic strategies.
Joakim Eskildsen’s series is a personal confession of his encounters with Roma communities between 2000 and 2006. We can see in image after image that the photographer has listened acutely to the individuals he walks among, and to the landscape in which their lives take shape. It is the photographer’s attitude, characterised by empathy and respect, which is directly communicated in the photos and which accounts for the special status of the works presented here. Poverty is not idealised in these pictures, or even transfigured into the supposed “culture” of the Sinti and Roma, but is understood as a consequence of social disadvantage and exclusion. Eskildsen neither glosses over, nor voyeuristically exploits this structurally conditioned poverty of the people in his images. To categorise Eskildsen’s work as “documentary” would be perhaps to underestimate its unwavering aesthetic, its compositional inventiveness, and the artist’s commitment to creating authentic and empathetic Roma representations.
In recent years, many photographers have taken it upon themselves to critically examine Roma depiction in photography, to reflect upon the perception of Roma promoted by photography, and to consciously investigate another form of portrayal. Among them are Bosnian photographer of Roma origin, Nihad Pušija. In his present series of portraits of internationally known Romani artists and activists, Pusija sets a milestone for an affirmative, positive intervention in the history of photography. His photographs present powerful and self-determined Sinti and Roma, who embody strong contemporary Roma leadership.
The visual journey of the exhibition evolves from domestic interiors and lyrical landscapes, to present-day portraits of strong, successful and self-determined contemporary Roma individuals, melding the notions of identity and representation, and offering meditations on the power of photography.
- Opening Speech by Ambassador Michaela Küchler;
- Virtual tour through the exhibition;
- Introduction of the exhibition with photographers Nihad Pušija and Joakim Eskildsen in discussion with ERIAC Executive Director Timea Junghaus;
- Musical break;
- Discussion “Hear the Roma Model Speak!” about Roma representation in contemporary photography
With Mihaela Dragan, actress and playwright; Riah May Knight, singer, songwriter and actress; moderated by Timea Junghaus.
The exhibition is curated by the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) in the framework of the Roma Components of the German Council of Europe Presidency in 2021.
Find the exhibition handout here: Exhibition_Handout
Find the map through the exhibition here: Exhibition_Map