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Press Release – Closing Conference Project Untold Stories – Povesti Nespuse

Project Untold Stories
PA17/RO13-SP35/2015
Romano ButiQ
Supported by a  Grant  from  Norway,  Iceland,  Liechtenstein and  the  Romanian Government within Programme PA17/RO13 Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage

Press Release Closing Conference
Untold Stories – Povești Nespuse
Project

Thursday, 28th April, 15.00 hours, the Closing conference of the Untold Stories-Povesti nespuse project will take place. The project’s creator is Alina Şerban, Roma actress and artist. The project’s main concept was set up in 2014, to end the silence that dominated the Romanian public space regarding the history of Roma slavery in Romania and the diversity of unrepresented Roma experiences. The project officially started in October 2015 and in a very short time successfully developed a necessary platform for untold and marginalized Roma stories.

To the difficult times that we live in, when racism and xenophobia are rising in Romania and Europe, our project responds with art and knowledge. To the marginalizing of Roma histories we answer by placing Roma people and their experiences center stage. In this way we can listen, find out about each other, find out about our history and our cultures’ stories. Therefore within the project several cultural events were organized and a variety of materials realized: an evening of Roma fairy-tales, artistic happenings, the reading-performance The Great Shame, research articles on Roma slavery,  a Book of Roma Fairy Tales, and multiple photo and video materials available at our bilingual website: www.povestinespuse.eu

 

The Evening of Roma Fairy Tales was a unique event that made it possible for the first time in Romania to rediscover the charm and magic of fairy tales orally transmitted from generation to generation, from Auntie Veta herself, our main storyteller. A room filled with children and adults, of all ages and coming from all social environments, Roma and non-Roma alike, enjoyed and applauded Auntie Veta’s stories. Part of the fairy tales Auntie Veta shared with us are available in a Book of Roma Fairy Tales available online in English, Romani and Romanian.

 

The Great Shame reading-performance is the first of its kind in Romania, addressing the history of Roma slavery from the perspective and through the words of Roma artists. The Great Shame performance had its very successful premiere on the 20th of February, on the Day of Roma Liberation in Romania. A history page was put forth, one that is missing from history manuals, collective memory and current discussions. The Great Shame performance gravitates around the idea of shame – a historical shame regarding a past for which nobody has taken responsibility, personal shame regarding one’s identity and shame of standing in solidarity with the Roma people in our lives. A shame that needs to be confronted and a great number of diverse people responded to our invitation by filling the space to its maximum capacity.

 

The success that our organized events enjoyed, both the Evening of Roma Fairy Tales and The Great Shame reading performance taking place with a full house, gave us the necessary strength to continue. We enjoyed the support of the national and international press (radio, TV stations, online and print media), of state institutions representatives and of Embassies from Bucharest, of Roma and non-Roma activists and of a great number and diversity of spectators.

 

Untold Stories will continue! We invite you to join us on the 28th of April for the premiere launching of two promotional videos, to receive our latest promotional materials in print, to find out more about our future plans and to mobilize together in solidarity, for further knowledge and promotion of Roma stories and experiences.

 

The Closing Conference of the Untold Stories-Povesti Nespuse project will take place Thursday the 28th of April, 15.00 hours, at Café Boheme (Caderea Bastiliei Street, no 11, Bucharest). To confirm your presence please write at povestinespuse@romanobutiq.ro.

Crenguta Mihăilă-Podolan
Publicity and Communication
Untold Stories-Povesti Nespuse project

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Once Upon A Time – Sasas Jekhvar Jekh

The stories and fairy tales of a community are the expression of that community’s imagination, identity and memory. One of the ways through which the project Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories aims to promote Roma identity and cultural diversity is the online publication of a Collection of Roma Fairy Tales. The fairy tales are presented in Romanian, Romani and English.

Transmitted orally throughout time, the Roma stories in our collection have been gathered by Alina Serban mainly from Tanti Veta, who was very generous with her time, stories and presence.

We hope that this collection of fairy tales will help us raise awareness regarding the complexity of Roma experiences and history and also reclaiming the Roma cultural identity. This online volume represents our contribution to the effort of popularizing Roma stories and of conserving the Roma folklore.

We invite you into a world with houses made of salt, brave girls, merciful boys, resourceful children, dragons and emperors, where injustices, adventures and courage are to be found equally. Enjoy your reading!

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Press Release – Launching Collection of Roma Fairy Tales

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Project Untold Stories
PA17/RO13-SP35/2015
Romano ButiQ
Supported by a  Grant  from  Norway,  Iceland,  Liechtenstein and  the  Romanian Government within Programme PA17/RO13 Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage

Press Release
Launching
Collection of Roma Fairy Tales
Project Untold Stories – Povești Nespuse

The project Untold Stories – Poveşti nespuse has published online a Collection of Roma Fairy Tales! This collection is available in three languages- Romanian, Romani and English.

The Collection of Roma Fairy Tales can be found here: http://povestinespuse.eu/en/resources/roma-fairy-tales/

The Roma stories in our collection have been gathered by Alina Şerban mainly from Auntie Veta, who has shared with us some of the Roma fairy tales that have been preserved orally throughout time. By passing down the stories from generation to generation, a community can conserve and popularize different expressions of that community’s imagination, identity and memory.

Through this Collection of Roma Fairy Tales, the project Untold Stories – Poveşti nespuse aims to raise awareness regarding the complexity and the history of Roma culture as well as to contribute to the reclaiming of the Roma cultural identity. Moreover, this online volume represents our contribution to the effort of disseminating Roma stories and of conserving the Roma folklore.

The diversity of Roma experiences is rendered invisible partly because only the ethnic majority’s vision of the world has been transmitted through stories. This is why we invite you to discover and together with us to bring to light yet another piece of Roma culture, that of fairy tales with houses made of salt, brave girls, merciful boys, resourceful children, dragons and emperors, in which injustices, adventures and courage are to be found equally. Enjoy your reading!

The project Untold Stories – Poveşti nespuse aims to promote the diversity of Roma culture and identity. The initiator of the project Untold Stories – Poveşti Nespuse is Alina Şerban, a Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduate, Roma actress, author and producer of theater plays and artistic productions.

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Launching Conference of the project

The launching conference of the project Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories took place on the 18th of November 2015 at Café Boheme in Bucharest. Alina Şerban, the person who initiated the project was the one to present the project’s objectives, main activities as well as the reasons that motivated its development. The discussion revolved around the various ways in which, through the envisioned artistic activities and through research, the project can contribute to the visibility of untold stories regarding Roma slavery, how it can highlight the absence of the period of Roma slavery from the history textbooks and how it can ignite much needed conversations concerning the implications of this history in understanding the present-day social inequalities.

Alina Şerban presented the manner in which Roma stories and stories from Roma history remain untold, from traditional fairy tales to information regarding the cultural contributions of Roma individuals throughout history and the stories of historical Roma experiences. Moreover, she brought to attention the fact that the absence of information regarding Roma slavery in the history textbooks contributes to rendering invisible the Roma experiences and she mentioned the different ways in which artistic productions and research can remedy this situation, for example by producing audio-video educational materials on Roma slavery in particular and on the history of oppression and marginalization of Roma people in general. Alina Şerban also emphasized the link between the act of rendering this history invisible and the exclusions and marginalization experienced by Roma people in the present.

Several Roma and non-Roma activists, members of mass-media, members of Embassies and academics have participated at the launching conference of the project Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories. We thank them for their presence and their show of support.

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Piața Roma-nă

Zita Moldovan si Alina Șerban Alina Șerban

As part of the project Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories, this week we have organized an artistic happening entitled Piața Roma-nă. The general theme of the happening was the challenge of the ingrained idea that it is acceptable for the period of Roma slavery to be excluded from the official history presented in the textbooks. The absence of a minimum amount of information regarding the 500 years of Roma slavery in the Romanian Principalities leads to the continuation of the status quo in which this period of history is ignored, distorted and rendered invisible.

The location of the happening was Piața Romană in Bucharest. Piața Romană was chosen for various reasons. Firstly, this is a very circulated and popular place in Bucharest, fit for highlighting the need to bring true history in the public space. Secondly, we wished for Piața Romană to become for several minutes Piața Roma-nă, a space in which we could articulate a way to create together an inclusive and adequate history that comprises the experiences and history of Roma people in Romania.

At the beginning of our artistic manifestation, the participants to the happening transmitted the main message of this activity: History is being told by whom? Later on the passer-byes were invited and took part in short discussions on the absence of mentions regarding Roma slavery in the history textbooks, on the importance of listening to Roma voices and on the necessity of these subjects’ presence in the public space. We were happy to have beside us Roma and non-Roma activists as well as Roma artists and actresses like Mihaela Drăgan and Zita Moldovan.

Thank you for your participation and your involvement!

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Contemporary Art and Activism Regarding Roma Slavery

Tablou George Mihai Vasilescu

On the 18th of November 2015, as part of the project Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories, we organized an artistic happening entitled Contemporary Art and Activism Regarding Roma Slavery. This event was part of a series of actions developed in the course of our project. During the happening Roma artists have discussed with the students and the professors present about the challenges of one’s involvement in artistic activism concerning Roma slavery. The speakers at this event were Alina Şerban, Roma actress, author and producer of theater plays and George Mihai Vasilescu, painter and artist.

The artistic happening meant the discussion of some materials resulted from the field research conducted in the project in order to gather Roma fairy tales as well as watching a series of monologues from Alinei Şerban’s theater plays. In addition, George Mihai Vasilescu has presented several of his paintings from the exhibition Robii lui Dumnezeu open at this time at the Bucharest Metropolitan Library.

The aim of the discussions was to present the activities of the project and the different means through which art and artistic productions contribute to the visibility of untold or ignores stories, to social change and to the re-evaluation of history. Moreover, taking into account the academic nature of the hosting establishment, the participants have talked about equal access to education and the importance of creating an inclusive and multicultural educational framework.

After the short session of questions&answers organized at the end of the event, we also discussed different future possible actions and ways to support Roma artistic activism.

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In a Coffee Shop at Piața Romană

At the end of November, as part of our project, we organized a happening in a coffee shop at Piata Romana in collaboration with the employees of the establishment.
We wanted to test the reaction of the public part of the ethnic majority that is usually present in these places when confronted with the racist exclusion from a public space of a Roma woman dressed in traditional clothes. Generally, Roma women and especially Roma women that dress traditionally face exclusion from different public spaces, street harassment and violence from the part of the ethnic majority. Thus, we wanted to see how the clients present in the coffee shop would react to such a situation. If they stand in solidarity or not with the Roma woman and what is their general attitude.
A Roma woman has been insulted, has been touched without her consent and has been excluded on racist grounds from a public space. Faced with such a situation, the clients that witnessed it not only did not question or challenge the employee’s decision and actions, but they clearly refused to talk to or to support the Roma woman. The prevailing attitude in the coffee shop was one of ignoring the incident with people laughing and keeping their eyes glued to the screen of their mobile phones.

These kind of reactions constitute a complicity often encountered in the racist and misogynistic society that we live in.

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Press Release – Concerning the Launching Conference of the Project Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories

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Project Untold Stories
PA17/RO13-SP35/2015
Romano ButiQ
Supported by a  Grant  from  Norway,  Iceland,  Liechtenstein and  the  Romanian Government within Programme PA17/RO13 Promotion of Diversity in Culture and Arts within European Cultural Heritage

Press Release
Concerning the Launching Conference of the
Project
Povești Nespuse – Untold Stories

The Launching Conference of the Project Povești Nespuse-Untold Stories will take place at Café Boheme on Wednesday the 18th of November, at 15:00. The project aims to document and to promote Roma culture and identity. Another one of its goals is to raise awareness concerning the cultural and social history of the Roma population in Romania through artistic happenings and research, activities that will be presented during the Launching Conference.

The initiator of the Untold Stories – Poveşti Nespuse project is
Alina Şerban
a Royal Academy of Dramatic Art graduate
Roma actress, author and producer of theater plays and artistic productions

 Alina Şerban has initiated the project Untold Stories – Poveşti Nespuse, implemented with the support of the Romano ButiQ Association, in order to promote Roma history and cultural diversity and to raise awareness regarding reclaiming Roma culture and identity. How do we reclaim an identity? How can we reclaim an identity when fundamental parts of history remain untold and when the links between the past and the present are not being discussed? What are the roles we play in the struggle to reclaim an identity, in the continuing or the changing of some histories? What are our stories? Who is telling the history? Whose history is being told and how? When the only voice being heard is that of the ethnic majority and there are only a small number of artistic productions that talk about the Roma history and culture in Romania, we are faced with a situation that renders the diversity of Roma experiences invisible.

The project Untold Stories – Poveşti Nespuse endeavors to highlight marginalized Roma historical and cultural perspectives that are rarely in the spotlight. Through this project we popularize Roma stories and fairytales and we support the research of the 500-year-history of the Roma slavery in the Romanian Principalities, while at the same time emphasizing the links between past Roma slavery and the present-day marginalization. Moreover, our project promotes artistic productions that are centered on Roma history and perspective. During the Launching Conference we shall give a detailed presentation of the main activities in the project while at the same time encouraging open discussions on the different possible means of supporting them.