Consider the “Gypsy” photograph as text. The prevailing ingredient is exoticism, an “otherness” separating this group from its majority context. Such style of photograph, in the words of Professor Miroslav Vojtěchovský, produces a theatre of grotesque characters, irreconcilably different, without redemption. Often, those pictured are presented in garish colour, furthering the isolation.
RomaRising offers quiet, respectful black and white images of dignity, argument to those who would discriminate, that first we consider human terms. Among these mostly anonymous souls, a few have capacity to become ministers within governments, society-wide leaders. Indeed, Mr. Ciprian Necula is State Secretary in the Ministry of European Union Funds, representing the Romanian Government.
The Bulgaria and Romania folios feature biographical narratives by Mary Evelyn Porter. Now one can know the life experiences that have given RomaRising participants such vibrancy. The narratives obviate “the tendency to define people of colour, rather than allowing them to speak for themselves.” (Alina Şerban, Actor. Romania)
Alas, many become sequestered to the “Gypsy Bubble” of Romani Affairs. Others are unable even to use hard-earned university degrees to seek employment. Some of the most gifted have chosen to emigrate to locales where peace and security allow them lives of normalcy. Witness the obvious sense of freedom on the visages of those within the Canada folio.
One profound final point, which initially escaped me: RomaRising, has become a record of feminine empowerment. Time and again we encounter women of strength and character stepping onto the stage.
My hope is that majorities everywhere will come to recognise that these individuals of RomaRising are treasure, talents of vast ability. Regardless of their chosen path, one discovers them to be superlative embodiments of our common humanity.
Chad Evans Wyatt