A presentation as part of the Call the Witness Roma Pavillion.
01.-03.06.2011, Palazzo Zorzi UNESCO Venice Office Castello 4930, Venice.
In this testimony Maud de Boer-Buquicchio presents the Roma Advocacy Quilt, a project managed by the Council of Europe and the Advocacy Project, a Washington, D.C.-based NGO. The remarkable quilt, which will be left behind in the Roma Pavilion for the duration of the exhibition, shows the exquisite handiwork of a group of eight Roma women from a community in Strasbourg, France. These Romanian-Roma women collaborated with local artist Véronique Boyer to realize their vision and to tell their story. Making use of this traditional “craft” medium, the quilt panels convey both a poetic and political narrative of daily life. The scenes illustrate some of the problems these women face on a daily basis: the threat of expulsion, begging, racism, early marriages, gender discrimination, etc. At the same time, the scenes reveal glimpses into their culture through poetry, art, and songs. The stark contradiction that most of the women who worked on the quilt live in a camp without running water or electricity just minutes from Strasbourg, the “Capital of Human Rights,” is brought to the fore and reveals the still-existing gap between Europe’s political commitment to human rights and the realities facing Europe’s largest minority. (Eleni Tsetsekou & Maria Hlavajova)