Roma Self-representation in the History of the Venice Biennale | Discussion


Roma Self-representation in the History of the Venice Biennale

11 October 2021

14:00-16:00 CET



hosted by the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC)

in cooperation with WEAVE (Widen European Access to Cultural Communities Via Europeana)

and Council of Europe representation in Venice




In this first ERIAC LabDay organized in the framework of WEAVE – Widen European Access to Cultural Communities Via Europeana, a discussion is launched to promote a more permanent exhibition of Roma art and heritage in the context of the prestigious Venice Contemporary Art Biennale. The event takes place at the Council of Europe Office in Venice and online in ZOOM. 

In the past there have been various exhibitions of Roma culture and contemporary art in the frame of Venice Biennales, namely in 2007, 2011 and 2019, which represent the greatest efforts ever made by Roma to present Roma art in an international stage in the center of contemporary cultural diplomacy. But in the lack of collecting, archiving and non-existent museum institutions to house artefacts, once these Roma exhibitions are dismantled, their histories become vulnerable and their achievements carry on only as interpersonal – and later transgenerational knowledge, which slowly – with the means of digital remembrance – constitute a new form of intangible cultural heritage. The Roma exhibitions are not connected to the prestigious locations, and known spaces of the Venice Biennale, but to the non-spaces of digital-discussions, oral histories, letter and in-person exchange, archival documents and digital exhibitions.

The “Exhibition” of the largest European minority is considered a “collaborative event”, and not a national pavilion. Roma do not have a national pavilion/building/space, while being the largest national minority to many of the exhibiting national representations. As a consequence, the precarious Roma minority’s presence at the Biennale is possible only if Roma pay the entrance fee as a collaborative event (30,500 Euros) to the Biennale Office, in addition to spending to rent the exhibition space in Venice. In these circumstances, the chance for permanent, tangible representation of Roma in the most prestigious European art event is unimaginable.

The LabDay discussion mitigates the need for a permanent Roma Pavilion as the place to motivate the development of innovative projects and experimental cross-disciplinary work of Roma. In the context of the Venice Biennale, the Roma Pavilion has the potential to become the safe space won by the Roma struggle, a place of intuition, new ideas, discourses, and trends in European contemporary art.

More information: https://weave-culture.eu/labdays/

The event will allow participants to ask questions directly to the panellists. Please notice that registration is required. Scrolling down you will find the registration form.





Dr. Rosa Cisneros, Coordinator of Activity 1 WEAVE, dancer and choreographer, dance historian and critic, Roma scholar, sociologist, flamenco historian.

Luisella Pavan-Woolfe, Host, Head of Office, Council of Europe representation in Venice, supporter of ERIAC’s initiatives for cultural inclusion, e.g. FUTUROMA Exhibition in 2019, the 2022 exhibition
Timea Junghaus, Art historian, contemporary art curator, Executive director of ERIAC, curator of the Roma Exhibition PARADISE LOST at the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale (2007)
Prof. Dr. Ethel Brooks, Associate Professor at Rutgers University (U.S), School of Arts and Science, and Chair of Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Research interests: Visual Cultures, Artistic Practice, Camps and Encampment, Digital Media and Belonging, Nationalism, Post-colonialism and Critical Race Theory
Daniel Baker, artist of Paradise Lost at the 52nd Venice Biennale (2007) and Call The Witness Exhibition at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011); curator of the FUTUROMA Exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Jury of Roma Exhibition Venice Biennale (2022)
Miguel Ángel Vargas, Art historian, theatre director, Flamenco researcher, member of Factoría Cultural – Polígono Sur, Institute for Culture and Arts of the Council of Seville and Jury of Roma Exhibition Venice Biennale (2019 and 2022)
Ilina Schileru, graphic artist, cultural manager and curator of Eugen Raportoru: The Abduction From The Seraglio & Roma Women | Performativity and the Politics of Healing and Listening at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022)
Eugen Raportoru, painter, visual artist, selected artist of Roma Exhibition at the 59th Venice Biennale (2022)

15:05 – 15:35 DISCUSSION
The discussion will unfold around three topics:
1. Lessons Learned
2. Difficulties of Establishing a Roma Pavilion
3. Solutions and Future Scenarios

15:35 – 15:50 Q&A

15:50 – 16:00 FINAL REMARKS



Watch the full discussion here: https://www.facebook.com/EuropeanRomaInstituteERIAC/videos/564934531390934



Daniel Baker (1961, United Kingdom) is a Romani Gypsy artist, researcher, and curator. Originally from Kent, and currently 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 an 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 Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia, respectively. For more information about Baker and his revolutionary work, visit www.danielbaker.net

Prof. Dr. Ethel Brooks is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University. She has conducted research on a host of sites around the world including in London, Istanbul, Fall River, San Salvador, Dhaka and York City. Brooks is the author of Unraveling the Garment Industry: Transnational Organizing and Women’s Work (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) which received the award for Outstanding Book for 2010 from the Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the co-editor of the special issue of WSQ on “Activisms.” She has contributed articles to a number of academic journals, including Nevi Sara Kali and International Working Class History, as well as book chapters in Sweatshop USA: The American Sweatshop in Historical and Global Perspective, Eds. Daniel A Bender and Richard Greenwald, (Routledge, 2003) and Sociology Confronts the Holocaust: Memories and Identities in Jewish Diasporas, Eds. Judith Gerson and Diane L. Wolf (Duke University Press, 2007). Professor Brooks is currently working on two book projects: Disrupting the Nation: Land Tenure, Productivity and the Possibilities of a Romani Post-Coloniality, and (Mis)Recognitions and (Un)Acknowledgements: Visualities, Productivities and the Contours of Romani Feminism, both of which focus on political economy and cultural production and the increasing violence against Romani (Gypsy) citizens worldwide. Her op-eds on the expulsion of Romani people in various European countries have recently appeared on “The Guardian”. She is also writing an article on “Missing Pakistanis: Gender, Citizenship and the Muslim Everyday,” on the limits and possibilities of writing about Pakistanis in the wake of the war on terror. In 2011 Prof. Brooks was awarded a prestigious Fulbright-University of the Arts London Distinguished Chair Award and she spent the academic year 2011/2012 at TrAIN, the Research Centre for Transnational Art, Identity and Nation. Part of the award supported Prof. Brooks’ delivery of a lecture series in conjunction with the Tate Gallery, London.

Dr. Rosa Cisneros is a dancer and choreographer, Dance Historian and Critic, Roma Scholar, Sociologist, Flamenco Historian and Peace Activist who graduated from UW-Madison and went on to complete her Master’s in Dance History and Criticism from UNM-Albuquerque (USA). Her PhD is in Sociology with a focus on Roma women, intersectionality, dialogic feminism and communicative methodologies. Rosamaria is a professional dancer, choreographer, curator and qualified teacher, who has lived and danced in various parts of the world and collaborated with many Flamenco greats and other leaders in the Dance field. She has taught throughout Europe and the US at places like UW-Madison, UIUC, Boston Conservatory, Brown University and at various other places in Germany, Spain and Turkey. She is a dance writer who makes regular contributions to Bachtrack Magazine and Flamenco News having also danced with Protein Dance Company in the UK. Rosamaria is involved in various EU funded projects which aim to make education accessible to vulnerable groups and ethnic minorities and sits on various Boards: Roma Coventry Project (UK), Drom Kotar Mestipen Roma Women’s Association (Spain) and the Early Dance Circle (UK). At the moment she is a Research fellow at Coventry University’s Centre for Dance Research based in the UK. She is also an independent artist, dancer, curator and teacher who has organised various festivals and exhibitions. Her dance films have screened in the UK, US, Colombia, Mexico, Greece, Cyprus and Germany and her latest documentary won best documentary from the UK in 2016. She has started her own production company, RosaSenCis Film Production Co., which worked on the Society for Dance Research Oral History Project. The company aims to create dance films and documentaries that capture stories and reflect embodied traditions that might otherwise be lost. She has also managed major EU-Funded projects and local City of Culture Partnership projects. Rosamaria collaborates closely with the University of Barcelona’s Community of Researchers for Excellence for All (CREA). She sits on academic Journals as an editorial assistant and those include the Journal for Embodied Practices and International Journal of Romani Studies.

Timea Junghaus is an art historian and contemporary art curator. She started in the position of Executive Director of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture in September 2017. Previously, Junghaus was Research Fellow of the Working Group for Critical Theories at the Institute for Art History at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (2010-2017). She has researched and published extensively on the conjunctions of modern and contemporary art with critical theory, with particular reference to issues of cultural difference, colonialism, and minority representation. She is completing her Ph.D. studies in Cultural Theory at the Eötvös Lóránd University, Budapest. In recognition of her curatorial activities, Junghaus received the Kairos – European Cultural Price from the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S., in 2008. Her curatorial works include the Roma component of the Hidden Holocaust- exhibition in the Budapest Kunsthalle (2004), Paradise Lost – the First Roma Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Contemporary Art Biennale (2007), the Archive and Scholarly Conference on Roma Hiphop (2010), The Romani Elders and the Public Intervention for the Unfinished Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Murdered Under the National Socialist Regime in the frame of the 7th Berlin Biennale (2012), the (Re-)Conceptualizing Roma Resistance – exhibition and education program in Hellerau, Dresden (2015) and the Goethe Institute, Prague (2016). She is the curator of the Visual Arts Section for RomArchive – Digital Archive of the Roma, funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes (2015-2018). Junghaus was the founding director of Gallery8 – Roma Contemporary Art Space (www.gallery8.org) in Budapest (2013-2017), the winner of the 2014 Catalyst Contemporary Art Award (of Tranzit Hungary) and the 2014 Otto Pankok Prize awarded by the For Roma Foundation of German writer and Literary Nobel Laureate, Günter Grass.

Luisella Pavan Woolfe was born in Trieste, Italy and graduated in Political Science magna cum laude from the University of Padua. Here she subsequently became assistant professor of Anglo-American law. As an official of the European Commission for over thirty years, she developed new policies and legislation in the areas of environment protection, equality between women and men and people with disabilities. She also managed funds which support vocational training, employment and education in the European Union. She was the first Director for Equal Opportunities to be nominated by the European Commission. As such she was responsible for the European Union’s policy developments in the area of gender equality and fight against all forms of discrimination. In 2007 she was appointed Representative to the Council of Europe. Subsequently as staff of the European External Action Service, she opened the European Union Delegation to the Council of Europe. She worked in Strasbourg as the first resident EU Ambassador to the Council of Europe and head of delegation from 2010 to 2014. Her mandate covered human rights and democratic governance in wider Europe. In September 2014 she became Principal Advisor Global Issues in the European External Action Service, with special responsibility for food security. From July 2015 she is the director of the Council of Europe office in Venice. She is the author of several articles on European matters. She has written a book on the interrelations between employment policy and social issues in Europe. She was awarded the 1998 European prize by the Bellisario Foundation for Women Entrepreneurs.

Eugen Raportoru (b. 1961, Bucharest) visual artist with a specialization in painting. Eugen Raportoru has a masters degree at the Bucharest National University of Arts, Department of Painting, and is the only Romanian artist of Roma origin to have exhibited his works in London at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Vatican under the aegis of UNESCO, and in Scandinavia at the Ethnic Museum in Oslo and through the Roma Party in Stockholm. The artist has exhibited in galleries and exhibitions throughout Romania, where he made his debut at the age of 14 at Grivita Cinema in Bucharest. In Romania’s capital, Raportoru has exhibited at the Palace of Parliament, in the Brâncuşi Hall, at the Simeza Gallery, at Art House, at GoldArt, but also in the cities of Sibiu and Sinaia. He has been a member of the Romanian Union of Plastic Artists since 2010.

Ilina Schileru Bucharest University of Arts, completed in 2010. She is a member of UAP Romania and the founding director of EBienale (in association with the Festival and George Enescu International Competition between 2011 and 2015), an international contemporary art event of three editions in the frame of the George Enescu International Music Festival, which reunited over 150 artists from Romania, Germany Switzerland, Sweden and the USA, taking place in parallel insix art galleries in Bucharest. Within EBienale, she developed a program of “invited curators-run􀍟, enabling artists to curate: Mihai Zgondoiu (Timon Botez / Galateca / 2013), Ioana Sisea (Alex Gâlmeanu / AnnArt 2015, Roxana Gibescu / Vlad Țenu / Romanian Athenaeum / 2013, Frédéric Liver, Victoria Art Center / 2015). From April 2021 Schileru is the program coordinator of MNTRplusC, a contemporary artist-run space program of the National Peasant’s Museum. The MNTRplusC program showscases international collaborations between Romanian local and foreign fellow artists and curators. Among them, special invitees are curator and an art historian from John Cabot University, Cornelia Lauf, and Piotr Armianovsky, featured artist in the 2019 edition of La Biennale di Venezia. She also specializes in working with NGO’s on integrating immigrant and refugee children through art programs she develops in collaborations with museums (Museum of Recent Art, MNAR etc.) She has collaborated with various galleries and artist-run spaces in Bucharest (AnnArt, 418 Contemporary, ETAJ, Galateca, Artmark), where she works and lives. She writes for ARTA Magazine, Propagarta (Romania) and No Niin (Helsinki, Finland).

Miguel Ángel Vargas, Art Historian and Theater Director (1978) Spain. As independent researcher and artist, Vargas combines flamenco, theater and Romani history as experienced-based themes of his artistic and academic inquiry. He has worked internationally as an actor, director, set designer, production manager and even opera technician among other roles in performing arts during his 20 years of career. He has collaborated with several academic institutions such as Central Saint Martins College of Arts of London, as coordinator of the work experience of their Performing Arts MA; member of Pendaripén, interdisciplinary research group on History of the Romani People, of the University of Seville and has participated in several seminars on Critical Romani Studies of Central European University.



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Supported by the INTERNATIONAL MEMBERSHIP ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVE, ERIAC initiative financed by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany (FFO)


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