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Opening of the romarising V4 Exhibition

The Embassy of the Czech Republic, in collaboration with the Embassies of Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary, presented the exhibition romarisingV4 by photographer Chad Evans Wyatt, with special guest Petra Gelbart, Ph.D., musician, activist, and scholar, on Monday, November 9.

The exhibition romarisingV4 features 40 portraits of successful Roma from Visegrad Four (V4) countries  – Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary. The black and white photographs counter stereotypical images of the Roma, revealing vibrant individuals excelling in their careers. They are a powerful testament of courage in the face of prejudice.

David Frous, Head of Political Department welcomed the guests and explained the purpose and goals of the Visegrad Group. The photographer Chad Wyatt talked about his project romarising, that he has worked on for more than 10 years. The first photo of the project was the portrait of Karel Holomek (1937), one of the most prominent Roma activists in the Czech Republic, member of the Governmental Council for Roma Minority Matters. Also, he is the founder of the Roma Citizens' Initiative, the Community of Romas in Moravia, and the Museum of Roma Culture.

The special guest, Petra Gelbart, mentioned the importance of Wyatt’s project for breaking the stereotypes in depicting the Roma. Also, she mentioned erasure and misrepresentation of Roma fate in Holocaust literature. She presented number of Romani authors and scholars from the above mentioned countries whose works are available in the US, such as Ilona Lacková (Slovakia/Czech Republic), Bronislava Wajs, a.k.a. Papusza (Poland), Qristina Zavackova Cumings (Slovakia/USA), János Bársony (Hungary) a.o.

The event has been organized as part of the Czech Republic’s Presidency of the Visegrád Four (V4). The V4 reflects the efforts of the countries of the Central European region to work together in a number of fields of common interest; its ultimate interest being the democratic development in all parts of Europe.

Chad Evans Wyatt is a photographer based in Washington, DC. He has worked on the project romarising for over ten years, photographing successful Roma in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Canada. More about romarising.          

Petra Gelbart, Ph.D., a founding member of the band Via Romen, is a Romani musician, activist and scholar who is at home both in the Czech Republic and the U.S.  She combines the Romani vo­cal production she learned from her family with elements drawn from more improvisational and popular genres. Recently, she completed her doctorate in ethnomusi­cology at Harvard University with a dissertation entitled “Learning Music, Race and Nation in the Czech Republic.” She promotes the rights of minority children, particularly those in state care and foster care. Petra is currently starting a center for Romani people and music at New York University.