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Artist, volunteers paint Roma wall in Veľká Ida

Artist and filmmaker Tomáš Rafa led a group of volunteers who painted the 200-metre wall in Veľká Ida, eastern Slovakia, which divides Roma from the rest of the village, the SITA newswire reported on August 15.

Artist and filmmaker Tomáš Rafa led a group of volunteers who painted the 200-metre wall in Veľká Ida, eastern Slovakia, which divides Roma from the rest of the village, the SITA newswire reported on August 15.

Rafa and his art happenings frequently seek to warn against growing divisions between Roma and non-Roma, and highlight the need of dialogue between the two groups, Peter Hapčo, head of the civic association Truc Sphérique told SITA.

Veľká Ida has about 3,000 inhabitants, of which one half is Roma. Some 650 of them live in the Roma settlement, which is divided from the village by a 3-metre-high wall erected in the beginning of 2013. The majority of Roma living in the settlement say that the wall separates them more from the other people, SITA quoted Rafa as saying.

“Building the concrete walls does not contribute to cohabitation, but only to further deepening of excluding Roma from society, and it signals the emergence of serious conflicts, as we can see it in the Czech Republic today,” Rafa said, as quoted by SITA.

Rafa has created his own project called “New Nationalism in the Heart of Europe” in which he watches and monitors the expressions of extremism. It was awarded with the Oskár Čepan Award in 2011.

Rafa also launched another project called “Sporting Walls 2013” which relates to his further activities in painting walls in Michalovce, Sečovce and Ostrovany, also located in eastern Slovakia, SITA reported.

Source: SITA

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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