Jakub Colling

Country of residence

United States


Romani & Polish


Ceramicist, Musician, Graduate Student


My mother is Polish and my father is Bashalde Romani. I grew up being told by my grandparents, “never tell anyone you’re a gypsy.” I think that speaks to what it means to be Romani in America. For them, and many others, forced assimilation was the only option. When they were living in what was then Maramaros, Hungary, they were incarcerated, killed, or thrown into slavery for speaking there own language, let only existing. I never learned how to speak Romani because if I did I could be killed. For them, coming to America was to reset who they were. They assimilated into American culture even though they lived in a predominant Romani, and Black community in Uniontown PA. My uncle hated that to be himself he had to hide his culture. He continued the tradition of Violin playing and toured as the Geza Sandray or Geza Kardos throughout the midwest and California. He recorded a few songs with other “gypsy” orchestra’s. Growing up I remember being with my Roma family and the joy and dancing that always happened. As I get older, I want to feel closer to my roots and understand what it means to be Roma today.

I’m a ceramicist, and musician. Im going to graduate school for Social Work.