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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 28, 2013
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The Roma in Art
November 28, 2013   
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A new exhibition at the Zachęta National Gallery of Art focuses on the Roma people, exploring themes such as forced assimilation and pressure to conform.

Entitled Houses as Silver as Tents, the exhibition features work by Polish and Roma artists, exploring how Gypsies have been portrayed in Polish art over the years. The title has been borrowed from a poem written by Roma poet Papusza in 1953, around the time when the communist authorities in Poland started a campaign to force Gypsies to abandon their nomadic lifestyle and settle down.

Items on show include prints and paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries by Polish artists Olga Boznańska, Wojciech Gerson, Juliusz Kossak and Maksymilian Gierymski, photographs by Tomasz Tomaszewski and Tadeusz Rolke, and work by artists from several other countries. The leading themes include forced assimilation, nomadism as an alternative lifestyle and the idea of “Gypsiness.”

The exhibition opens with Kushti atchin tan? (Roma for “A good place to stop?”) by Delaine Le Bas, a British artist of Roma ancestry. Her work is a tent, the interior of which resembles a little girl’s room. On the walls of this ephemeral structure, Le Bas has written phrases and sentences referring to the situation of the Roma in Europe. Next to popular sayings such as “Home Sweet Home” and “Home Is Where the Heart Is” she has placed questions such as “where?” and “for whom?” She has also placed an EU flag in the tent with the question: “A safe European home?”

Until Dec. 15
Zachęta National Gallery of Art
3 Małachowskiego St., tel. 22 827-58-54
Open Tue.-Sun. noon-8 p.m.
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