Modifying Error: 404, towards green, digital and inclusive societies- ERIAC at KotorArt Festival
Since its establishment in 2017, the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture has spearheaded an unprecedented effort to support Roma artists and to find untapped talent within Roma community and has become an international creative hub to support the exchange of creative ideas across borders, cultural domains and Romani identities. Our mandate covers a broad spectrum of activities, from acting as a Commissioner of the Roma Exhibition at the International Exhibition of Art Biennale di Venezia to publishing Romanes language books. The common denominator is that all activities stem from the belief that culture is the most powerful tool to shift negative social narratives. During a time when chauvinism and anti-Roma prejudice is on the rise — and when state funding is increasingly denied to projects that don’t toe the nationalist line — it is crucial that minority arts and culture have a place of their own.
After five years of consistent programming, ERIAC’s presence at the 59th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia, 23rd International Art Exhibition Triennale Milano, Manifesta 14 and documenta fifteen in 2022, marks another great step forward for contemporary Roma art and shows that art by Roma people is breaking through the barriers that have been in place for far too long. Our presence at these highly regarded events is a fitting milestone in our trajectory, but also an exciting development in the universal history of mainstream exhibitions and institutions, traditionally excluding Roma. While participation in these elitist events might seem remote from the situation for Roma on the ground, it is also where governmental policy can be influenced, and international perceptions persuaded toward alternative points of view.
To mark our fifth anniversary and to celebrate our first programmatic contribution to the International Festival KotorArt, we created a programme of conversations with trailblazing cultural activists and artists from the region, who have supported ERIAC from its inception.
The invitees, distinguished artists and cultural promoters from Albania, Northern Macedonia, Romania and Serbia, will engage in the conversation about the power of art to change social attitudes and contribute to a more healthy and equitable society. Using their expertise and experience from across the artistic disciplines, including visual and performative arts, the speakers will discuss the role of artists and cultural institutions in promoting Roma cultural heritage, starting from adjusting the majoritarian school curricula to interrogating harmful and stereotypical depictions of Roma in the mainstream culture.
Sead Kazanxhiu is one of the most engaged protagonists of the contemporary Albanian art scene. His artworks are dedicated to the culture, problems and the status of the Roma community from which he originates. Sead’s activist and artistic practice are in symbiosis with the broader struggle for the awareness of the significance of Romani culture, as well as against systemic violence and anti-Roma stereotypes. This involves working on the education of majority populations to resist racist, classist and anti-Romani prejudices that are still being perpetuated within the European societies of today. He currently participates in the exhibition One Day We Shall Celebrate Again: RomaMoMA at documenta fifteen in Kassel, and in All the Birds are Praying for Our Children in Belgrade within ERIAC’s contribution to Manifesta 14.
Alina Șerban is actress, playwright and director. For the past 13 years, Alina has been using film and theatre against all forms of discrimination to create and claim space for marginalised stories, support gender equality, combat violence against women and promote minority rights. Her career has wide visibility in international press, including Agency France Press,Variety, Le Monde, Le Figaro, Screen Daily, Cine Europa. Alina is a graduate of Royal Academy of Dramatic Art-London, New York University – Tisch and National University of Theatre and Film of Romania. In 2020, she was awarded the Tajsa Roma Cultural Heritage Prize for promotion of Roma culture by ERIAC.
Zoran Tairović, born in Novi Sad, Serbia, is an academic painter and a multimedia artist with a doctoral degree in interdisciplinary studies in applied arts management, an activist and Director of the Intercultural Theatre. Winner of prestigious world awards for painting, author of the first Roma opera and musical, and many award-winning documentaries. He has participated with his artistic performances in many important festivals and events in Serbia and around the world. Zoran’s achievements are wide-ranging and tireless, including published literary works, music compositions, art exhibitions, works in public spaces, lectures, curatorial work, videos and films. Professionally, Zoran has excelled in several spheres, with positions as the founder of the Albert Hall Museum for Conceptual Art in Bódvalenke, Hungary, as a Member of the Presidency, as founder and director of, a film festival with Roma thematic, FROM. President of the Committee for Culture of the League of Roma, and ex-adviser to the Vice President of the Government of the Republic of Serbia for Roma issues.
The discursive program is accompanied by musical guests:
Ferenc Snétberger Solo
Ferenc Snétberger is a Hungarian jazz guitarist born in a Roma family. He studied at Bela Bartók Jazz Conservatory in Budapest. He plays in orchestras founded by him, but also with famous international jazz music stars. Today, he is best known for his art of improvising and his crossing of stylistic borders. His music is inspired by the Roma tradition of his home country, Brazilian music and flamenco as well as classical guitar playing and jazz. He has composed film music and “For My People” for guitar and orchestra. He recorded numerous albums as a leader, co-leader and sideman and has toured all over Europe as well as Japan, Korea, India and the United States. He received several prestige acknowledgements such as the Hungarian Order of Merit, Franz Liszt award and the Kossuth Prize. He is a founder of the Snétberger Music Talent Center, an international music school for disadvantaged children and young people, mainly minorities of Sinti and Roma origin. In 2022, Snétberger was awarded the German Jazz Prize.
The Pillers is an internationally renowned violin and accordion formation of the Austrian-Serbian Roma musicians Darko and Danijel Piller. Danijel studied at the Prayner Conservatory in Vienna. Darko studied at the Richard Wagner Conservatory and is currently considered the youngest professor in Vienna. In 2017, they won the prestigious world music award ‘Onet le Châteaugot’ in France.
The Kal Band
Formed in 1996 in Valjevo, Kal, creates an eclectic sound created by the symbiosis of various musical genres, such as the music of the Western Balkans, swing, jazz, blues and pop. In the combination of the Balkan style and the Romani rhythm, the original aesthetic of the Minor stands out, which Western music critics named Rock’N’Roma and Gypsy Rockabilly.
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