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Opening: December 6, 2013, 3 pm


Participating artists: Marika Schmiedt (Austria), Eszter Kinga Deli (Hungary), Selma Selman (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Cristina David (Romania), Laszlho Sefcick (France), Liliana Basarab (Romania)


And: students from Roma Access Programs (Central European University, Budapest),anonymouspostcards, collages and letters, signed postcards, collages and letters, diary pages and other material traces of the calling cards’ exchange.

Opening Speech: Maria-Alina Asavei


CALLING CARDS is an exhibition-concept which aims to raise awareness and to purge the noxious growth of discrimination against Roma communities. This exhibition takes as its point of departure, reenacts and extends Adrian Piper’s concept of Calling Cards. This reenactment is a form of social activism which attempts to rectify discrimination by re-acting and re-staging one of the most important artistic assertions against racism formulated by a first generation conceptual artist. Piper confronted the pervasive racism of our society. With Calling Cards, she challenges viewers to take the confrontation with racism “into their own hands”. A calling card is the precursor of the contemporary “business card”. It is an old fashioned social convention which used to signify an invitation, an introduction for oneself or a means of communication. Each piece of art from this exhibition acts symbolically as a calling card meant to draw attention to the Roma’s social, cultural and spatial segregation. Actual “Calling Cards” (inspired by Adrian Piper’s Calling Card No.1, 1986-1990) will be disseminated within and beyond the art space.

This exhibition focuses on the relational (collaborative) component of art practice (even in terms of co-authorship). Both Roma and Non-Roma European artists, cultural workers, educators, activists, poets and writers are invited to collaborate. The works displayed are both disturbing (critical, thought provoking) and beautiful (heartbreaking and sentimental). In spite of their conceptual and material variety, they have in common the fact that all of them act politically, as a temporary displacement of agency from people to art in order to foster collaboration and social justice. The force fields are diversified in such a manner that not only the impulse to act and react will count as political and critical but also the rekindling of our feelings and emotions. This exhibition attempts to illustrate that not only radical forms of artistic activism can be effective but also what Tom Block would call a “prophetic activist art”.

The pieces displayed range from mail art and confession art to video performance and digital-collages. “Calling Cards” intends to be an open, de-centralized network of “correspondence art” which will expand the audience by focusing on collaboration, sharing and exchange. Collaboration is envisioned in dialogical terms: where all members involved partake actively and decisively in the artistic project. “Calling Cards” is conceived as an itinerant and cumulative exhibition.


Curator: Maria Alina Asavei


Consultant: Timea Junghaus


Image: Correspondence for “Calling Cards” project


The concept of “correspondence art” connotes:  “An intimate gesture. It is a pure idea often direct and unrefined. It may also become political, psychological, religious, outrageous, sentimental, humorous, horrific, enlightening or indulgent” (From Commentaries of the New Media Arts by Robert C. Morgan, 1984)

Collaborating Partners: Gallery8 (ERCF), CEU Center for Art and Culture, Roma Access Program (CEU)

The exhibition is part of the program series of Gallery8, to be realized between September 2013 and September 2014, supported by the EEA Grants/Norway Grants and the Autonómia Foundation.

Katitzi – A Literary Character Rooted in Reality

Katitzi – A Literary Character Rooted in Reality


Opening: October 9, 2013. 5pm

Opening speech: Maria Lind (S), curator, director of Stockholm Tensta Konsthall; Angelica Ström (S), teacher for children with special needs. Participators: Erno Kallai violinist.
Literary Workshop: October 9, 2013. 2 pm:
‘How can children’s literature and activism get along with each other?’ Literary workshop with invited guests organized by Nordic House Foundation and Gallery8. Participating experts: Lawen Mohtadi writer and author of the first biography on Katarina Taikon, Angelica Ström teacher for children with special needs, Zsófia Domsa lecturer ELTE Faculty of Humanities Scandinavian Studies, László Arató literature teacher ELTE Radnóti Miklós School, Hungarian Teachers Association.
'What are you calling me? Gipsy! What? What is that?' This is how Katitzi, the nine-year-old main character of Katarina Taikon’s book, faces her origin in the world of 'good' and 'bad' in pre-war Sweden. And this is how she will continue to search for her place, her home, in the 'western welfare state' during her entire life.
Katarina Taikon Swedish writer of Roma origin had raised attention with her first book 'Zigenerska' (gipsy woman) in 1963. Later on she continued to shake the Swedish public with her literary and political activism, fighting for Roma’s rights together with her sister, Rosa Taikon. On the pages of her biographical children’s book series 'Katitzi', the 'splendid' democracy, the Swedish 'welfare' society, is depicted as a society infused with discrimination – a particularly surprising and dark read for  the Central-Eastern-European reader. Through the narration of an innocent and curious child, the book challenges our notion of Western European 'developed' democracies and its myth of 'equality and well-being' societies.
Katitzi, along with the internationally well-known figures like Nils Holgersson or Pippi Longstocking, has been one of the most significant characters of the Swedish children’s literature. Hundreds of thousands of children and adults have read the book in Sweden. In 1980, for instance, the book was borrowed 432.000 times from the library. The story, not long after its coming out, appeared as a comic book as well as a magazine, the TV series based on ’Katitzi’ became popular and came out on dvd. Recently, the Folkteatern in Gothenburg has done a family show based on the Katitzi books and the Nationalteatern in Stockholm has adopted it for the post-modern times with hiphop elements. This latter piece has already reached thousands of primary school children.
The book series ’Katitzi’ has not only been a fascinating read for many generations, but was also a significant example of the new type of realistic children’s literature emerging in the 1960s. It also provides the reader with an insight to a Swedish society dragged by ethnic and social tensions and to the destiny of Roma living in Sweden.
What reasons can we find for the success and popularity of Taikon’s story, especially among non Roma readers? Is it the mixture of fairy tale and novel, together with the ancient motif of wandering that makes us go through this story of searching for home with such deep empathy? Maybe it is the unimaginable adventures of Roma life that maintain the actual attention of the readers? Or is it perhaps the destiny of a gipsy girl growing up amongst racism in a 20th (21st) century Europe that attracts us? And if the latter is the case – then why is it affecting us only in the form of literature? Is it a book that will open our eyes to social injustice and racism within society?
Literature is none other than the coalition of humanism and politics, as Thomas Mann’s Settembrini declares. Do we have/ Why don’t we have a Katarina Taikon? Why don’t we have our own Katitzi? What can a child or a children’s book tell us about the nature of racism? Would it be important for us to have our own Katitzi? How much can a children’s book contribute to the education of tolerance and how can we protect our children from racist writings nowadays?
In our upcoming exhibition ’Katitzi – A literary character rooted in reality’ we will search for the answers to these questions. International experts such as Maria Lind (curator), Lawen Mohtadi (writer) and the daughter of Katarina Taikon, Angelica Ström (teacher) will contribute to our project.
Gallery8’s book talk on October 9th, and the exhibition opening that follows, will present the literary and political work of Katarina Taikon. It will also attempt to reveal the 'success story' of the children’s book 'Katitzi' and interpret the 'Katitzi-phenomena' so that we can use it to reflect on Hungarian literacy and political actualities. During the time, and in the space of the exhibition, we will organize museumpedagogy workshops for primary school classes, which are supposed to make Katitzi’s story and message reach those that the author intended to: Roma and non Roma children, families and teachers.
The subject of the exhibition is Katarina Taikon’s (1932-1995) autobiographical figure Katitzi, who is the main character in thirteen books and eight comic albums published between 1969 and 1982. The exhibition presents first editions of the Katitzi books, comic albums, illustrations by Björn Hedlund. It also unfolds the history of the book’s reception. The items exhibited – articles, reviews, films, TV programs, photographs and other materials, will help the visitor live through and understand the particular popularity of the character called Katitzi.
The curator of the Hungarian adoption of the exhibition and the related programs: Veronika Vaspál, literary historian.
The project adopts the exhibition Katitzi - A Literary Figure Rooted in Reality, Tensta Konsthall October 2012 – January 2013.
The concept of the museumpedagogy workshops is based on the professional support of Pressley Ridge Foundation.
The transportation of the exhibition materials is supported by the Swedish Embassy in Budapest.
The exhibition is part of the program series of Gallery8, to be realized between September 2013 and September 2014, supported by the EEA Grants/Norway Grants and the Autonómia Foundation.

Nicolae Gheorghe passed away

Nicolae Gheorghe passed away

Words seem inadequate to express the sadness we feel about Nicolae Gheorghe passing away. The Romani Elders and ERCF will do its best to serve and continue his legacy.

The Statement of Christian Strohal - ODIHR Director 2003-2008:

"Nicolae has always been such an inspiration! His openness of spirit, his patience and perseverance, and his charisma has been galvanizing more than a generation throughout Europe. I was privileged to work with him at the ODIHR for several years. My sincere condolences to Nocolae's family, my regards to his comminiuity and friends.
Let me recall the statement of the US delegate, Erika Schlager, at the 2006 OSCE/ODIHR HDIM:
"Finally, the United States notes with a certain sadness that this is the last Human Dimension Implementation Meeting we will have with Nicolae Gheorghe in his capacity as the ODIHR Senior Advisor on Romani issues. There have been many positive changes in the years that Nicolae has been in Warsaw, and in the years since he first played an instrumental role in securing the OSCE’s first reference to Romani human rights in the historic 1990 Copenhagen Document. Nicolae, it has been an honor and a privilege to work with you."
I can only join in this."

Read the life story of Nicolae Gheorghe

Multiple Exposures - Memory of the Roma Holocaust-contemporary reflections

Multiple Exposures - Memory of the Roma Holocaust-contemporary reflections

Opening: 6 pm, August 2, 2013 – on the Roma Holocaust Remembrance Day

Exhibiting artists: Tibor Balogh, János Bogdán Amigó, Marcell Esterházy, Andrea Izsó, Erika Lakatos, Csaba Nemes, Jenő André Raatzsch, Klára Rudas, Erzsébet Vojnich

Literary reflections: Tamás Jónás, Judit Hevesi, Lili Kemény

Opening speech: Balázs Böcskei


There is a photo – at the Vas County Archive, Szombathely (Hungary). There is a woman, Erzsébet Horváth. We know quite a lot about her: she was born in Rábakeszthely in 1920. Her parents are Károly Horváth and Rozália Horváth. She is of medium height. She has oval face and her hair is cooper red. Her eyes are blue and she has no missing tooth. She is Catholic and works as a day-labourer. We know barely anything about her.
Photographic images play a key role in shaping both our knowledge and our memory of the Holocaust. Images bridge across time and space, function as links in trans- and intergenerational communication as well as enable the secondary generation to touch the past, to identify with the lost past world and to remember it.
There are approximately two million photographs of the Holocaust scattered all around the world hidden in libraries or archives however only a small number of images are incorporated in our collective knowledge. Nevertheless, in the case of the Roma Holocaust in Hungary it is hard to consider any photographs as well-know Holocaust-icons, and those few which can be considered as authentic documents of massive destruction fail to constitute an inherent part of the visual canon of the Holocaust.
The exhibition focuses on the memory of the Roma Holocaust and approaches it from a transgenerational point of view. It invokes the photo – more precisely, a photo and the ID which serves as its direct context – as a vehicle of remembrance. The image talks for itself, however, in order to encourage, multiply the discourse and to create a discursive space around the photo we invited contemporary artists, writers, poets.
A document was registered in May 12, 1937 in Szentgotthárd. A black and white photo is glued on it: it shows Erzsébet Horváth. She rests her left arm on her hip.
The photo belongs to the Roma ID no. 59.
Curator: Anna Lujza Szász
Curator assistant: Judit Szalipszki
Venue: Budapest-1084, Mátyás tér 13.
Collaborating partners: ERCF, Museum of Roma Culture (Brno), mecem.sk, Dialog Pheniben Journal
Support: International Visegrad Fund
(image: Csaba Nemes, untitled)

Superwomen - Czech and Slovakian Roma Woman Artists and Talents (June 27, 2013 - July 29, 2013)

Superwomen - Czech and Slovakian Roma Woman Artists and Talents (June 27, 2013 - July 29, 2013)

Vera Duzdova, Lada Gaziova, Zuzana Hruskova, Tamara Moyzes, and the Daily Dzessika Magazin


The exhibition presents Czech and Slovakian woman artists whose artistic carriers demonstrate the operation of structural oppression towards the Roma, they offer models for revolting against this oppression, and how to reject the majority’s dominance in order to construct new Roma woman identities. The exhibited works and the Daily Dzessika Magazin focus on the question of visibility, and how women artists can rewrite or modify the mainstream discourse once they arrive in the position of visibility.


The works that operate with the power of humor are not simply spontaneous games, or theatric self-exhibitions, but ritual performances, which are formed under the pressure and influence of oppression, deploying the power of taboo, and fleeing from the horror of exclusion. They use the subversive power of parody, the way Judith Butler suggests: „They reject and change the laws, in order to use them against those, who created them”.


Curator: Timea Junghaus

Image: Daily Dzessika Magazin, Cover Photo, Issue 7, May 2013, dailydzessika.org.uk

Image on the right: Tamara Moyzes: Miss Roma (stills from the video, 2007)


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