Ninth European Roma Smith Symposium shows ancient craft

The 9th annual European Roma Smith Symposium took place at the beginning of September in the small municipality of Dunajská Lužná close to Bratislava. The event, organised by the Chartikano civic association and supported by the Slovak Government Office, displayed the skills of Slovak and, in particular, Roma blacksmiths.

Smiths at their 9th professional symposium in Dunajská Lužná.Smiths at their 9th professional symposium in Dunajská Lužná. (Source: SITA)

The 9th annual European Roma Smith Symposium took place at the beginning of September in the small municipality of Dunajská Lužná close to Bratislava. The event, organised by the Chartikano civic association and supported by the Slovak Government Office, displayed the skills of Slovak and, in particular, Roma blacksmiths.

The September 8 event included an opening of blacksmith artworks, which were added to the replicas of original burial mounds dating back to the early Iron Age around 450 BC. As in previous years, blacksmiths demonstrated their craft at heated forges and original anvils. An organiser of the event, Róbert Rigo, told the SITA newswire that about 30 artists-smiths and their assistants from Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia registered. Apart from the demonstrations and the exhibition’s opening, the symposium also held workshops for children.

László Nagy, the government proxy for minorities, praised Dunajská Lužná as a distinct model of ideal co-existence of Slovaks, ethnic Hungarians and the Roma minority. “The smith traditions in this municipality are not just a remarkable artistic heritage, but they also secure the work for local Roma.” Out of about 3,700 inhabitants of Dunajská Lužná, approximately 500 are of Roma origin.

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