During the last Pakiv Board meeting which took place on March 22nd, dr. Nicoleta Bitu resigned from her position as the Board member on behalf of the Alliance for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture, one of ERIAC three founders.
Dr. Nicoleta Bitu, a well-known Roma scholar, politician, activist and feminist, has been active in the field of human and women’s rights for over 26 years, has been at the forefront of the European mobilization of Romani women activists and of advocacy for the rights of Roma. Dr. Nicoleta Bitu, a founding member of the Alliance for the European Roma Institute, was a key figure lobbying for the creation of ERIAC and provided essential support and guidance in the first years after ERIAC’s establishment in 2017. The entire ERAIC community is grateful for her years of commitment to the development and growth of the Institute.
Following her resignation, the members of the Alliance for the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) have appointed Mr. Sead Kazanxhiu, a talented Roma artists from Albania and Alliance’ member, as the new representative to sit on the ERIAC Pakiv Board.
Mr. Sead Kazanxhiu is a visual artist from southwest Albania. He was trained as a painter at the University of Arts in Tirana (2006 – 2010), where he obtained his bachelor degree. Kazanxhiu comes from a family of Roma ethnic minority. This fact has profoundly shaped his childhood years in Baltez, a village nearby Fier, where he was raised in an environment sensitive to social and cultural inequalities. In a community well aware of hierarchical structures and un-privileged positions within a nation-state, the very condition of being an Albanian Roma citizen turned out to be a determining factor for Kazanxhiu’s status of an artist as well as for his overall cultural practice so far. Thus, it comes as no surprise that the issues of prejudice, exclusion, discrimination, and racism have taken center stage both in his artistic and activist work. His uncompromising position with regard to unfair treatment of Roma ethnic group presents but a platform to voice individual dissent about the racially biased dynamics that, unfortunately, continues to shape contemporary European worldviews – on a daily basis, inside and outside of official political arenas. In this sense, his image-making contributes to positive efforts of a single artist to restore the dignity of a community forcefully and unjustly cornered at the outskirts of European democracy. Kazanxhiu is also the founder of STHAN Cultural Centre, and currently, he is following the Albanian School of Political Studies.