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Slovak Roma world travels to Belgium


ROMA communities present their life in photos abroad.
photo: Courtesy of Truc sphérique

ROMA families from four settlements in the country's east documented the world in which they live with single-use Agfa cameras. Young Belgian photographer Nils Bijnens was the initiator of the project and its results, an exhibition entitled Roma In Their Own Eyes, tours four Belgian towns until April.

The exhibition will then return to Slovakia, and in summer it will be presented at the Stanica Culture Centre in Žilina.

According to the representatives of Truc sphérique, a non-governmental organisation that runs the Stanica centre, the aim of the project is to create a pictorial report about Roma life with no manipulation and intervention by professional photographers. The continuing project focuses not only on Roma settlements but also other environments in which the Roma live. It tries to avoid a narrow and stereotypical view of this Slovak community.

The exhibition in Belgium is accompanied by artwork created by Roma children from the school in the Jarovnice settlement, under the supervision of their teacher, Ján Sajko. These "young artists" regularly win awards at the world's festivals of children's artwork.

With his project, Bijnens continues in the series of similar photographic projects of Truc sphérique organisation. The project is the culmination of his seven-month stay with the organisation, supported within the EU Youth programme.

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