OPEN CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS to the BARVALO exhibition – ERIAC is seeking an artist to visually represent the STRUCTURE OF ANTI-GYPSYISM
The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM) in Marseille, France, have partnered to develop an exhibition about Romani cultures, pride, and contributions to European societies. The exhibition “BARVALO” opens in May 2023 in Marseille and is developed by a curatorial team composed of Jonah Steinberg, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Vermont, USA; Julia Ferloni, curator at MuCEM; and Anna Mirga-Kruszelnicka, who represents ERIAC in the curatorial team; as well as by associated curators Françoise Dallemagne, collections officer at MuCEM; and Alina Maggiore, PhD candidate in anthropology in Aix-Marseille and Freiburg, Germany.
The exhibition is based on a collaborative and participatory process, bringing together Roma and non-Roma contributors. ‘Barvalo’, a term meaning ‘rich’—and, by extension, ‘proud’—in Romani, deals with the history of Roma in Europe and their fight against anti-gypsyism, as well as with the paths and biographies of well- and lesser-known Roma and their contributions to European societies.
Roma History in Europe
The first part of the exhibition explains the trajectories by which prejudices and persecutions against the Roma arose, and the way these are perpetuated through national policies, state institutions and media discourses up to the present day. The visitor learns about the ways in which Roma have exercised voice, agency, and claim — notably through a common language — in these situations of oppression, throughout history and in present times. The final segment of the historical chapter, entitled Contemporary Roma History: Fighting for Recognition and Subjectivity, sheds light on the way in which the horrors of the past also became a mobilising force for the formation of a modern, transnational Roma identity and solidarity. Through a visualisation of the concept of anti-gypsyism, and its use as a heuristic vehicle for the framing of the situation of Roma throughout the centuries, the aim is to lay the groundwork for the visitors’ understanding of the situation of Roma in Europe.
Structure of Anti-Gypsyism
ERIAC is seeking a talented visual artist, creator, or designer with self-declared Roma identity to collaborate on the design of a visual representation of anti-gypsyism as a physical form; a visual thinker who can bring a unique visual solution to the design challenge represented by this complex social phenomenon. In close collaboration with ERIAC, the selected artist would explore the root causes and components of anti-gypsyism, and with the help of drawing and various tools in graphic design, visually explain to the public, and represent the complex processes and discriminatory attitudes institutionally and at broader societal level, which Roma people face every day.
Experts of the Barvalo exhibitions have discussed and started to define the concept of anti-gypsyism in the frame of a conceptual seminar and a workshop held with the entire curatorial team. As a result of this seminar, they proposed representing in symbolic form the different layers of anti-gypsyism. The outcome of this brainstorming exercise is a preliminary drawing, which forms an integral part of this call, and can serve as an initial creative and conceptual input for the chosen designer/artist.
The Structure of Anti-Gypsyism visually represents the root causes of anti-gypsyism, such as gradual exclusion and othering, and lists further elements, including ignorance and incomprehension, while the aim is to delve into more sophisticated layers of the term, like exoticisation, exclusion, etc.
The Structure of Anti-Gypsyism will help visitors recognise the effects and consequences of constant exposure to discrimination, exclusion and racism. Through this installation work, visitors might indeed recognise the degree to which they are de-sensitised and inured to such routine brutality.
How to participate?
A brief concept summary, alongside the actual design work, should be submitted in PDF format, indicating the costs of production, materials to be used, and necessary time for the execution of the project.
The selected artist will receive an artistic honorarium of €1,000. Production costs will be covered separately. The work will be exhibited within the frame of Barvalo, commencing 10 May 2023 in Marseille.
Deadline for submission
Please send your proposals until 29 July, 17:00 CET to: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the subject line, indicate: MuCEM Structure of Anti-Gypsyism
Interested applicants may inquire for further information from Emese Molnár at email@example.com
Members of the Jury
The proposals will be evaluated by an international jury, consisting of curators of the Barvalo exhibition.
The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM; French: Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée) is a national museum located in Marseille, France. It was inaugurated on 7 June 2013 as part of Marseille-Provence 2013, during the year when Marseille was designated the European Capital of Culture. By the following year, it had joined the ranks of the 50 most visited museums in the world.
The museum is devoted to European and Mediterranean civilisations. With a permanent collection charting historical and cultural cross-fertilisation in the Mediterranean basin, it takes an interdisciplinary approach to society through the ages, up to modern times. MuCEM is interested in the contemporary aspects of European and Mediterranean civilisations. Its collections include more than 350,000 objects, as well as a large assortment of documents, comprising a total of a million works of art, documents and objects, an extraordinary treasure trove that is promoted by means of an ambitious programme of permanent and temporary exhibitions. The 21st-century museum aims to be a real cultural centre covering a vast swath of history, making use of all the disciplines of the humanities and social sciences, and displaying artistic expression from both shores of the Mediterranean.
ERIAC was officially established on 7 June 2017 in Berlin, Germany. The Institute is a joint initiative of the Council of Europe (CoE), the Open Society Foundations (OSF), and the Roma leaders’ initiative – the Alliance for the European Roma Institute. ERIAC has a unique mandate as the first transnational organisation for the recognition of Roma arts and culture. ERIAC exists to increase the self-esteem of Roma and to decrease negative prejudice of the majority population towards the Roma by means of arts, culture, history, and media. ERIAC exists to be a communicator and public educator, to disseminate a positive image and knowledge about Romani people, for dialogue and to build mutual respect and understanding.
The Institute functions as a transnational creative hub, supporting the exchange of creative ideas across borders, cultural domains, and Romani identities. ERIAC highlights the numerous and multifaceted Romani contributions to European culture, talent, success, and achievement, as well as documenting the historical experiences of Romani people across Europe.
Damian Le Bas: Romani World Empire, 2015, collage and drawing on a map © Marianne Kuhn/MuCEM. In 2019, MuCEM purchased three collages by Damian Le Bas, following their acquisition policy of 2018 (commencing with the purchase of four paintings by Ceija Stojka): collecting Roma artists and challenging the ancient stereotyped ethnographical collections.