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The Panel About Romani Culture Held On The Street Musicians Festival


The panel discussion “Openly About Romani Culture” part of the project “Open Up” was held today in the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina, as part of the program of the Street Musicians Festival dedicated to the promotion of contemporary art of Roma people in Serbia and Europe. This cultural event has organized, through its social engagement practiced over the years, a conference on which, to the great interest of the public, participated numerous social institutions and organization that deal with the question of the Romani minority in Serbia.


After the opening statement of the moderator, Miroslav Keveždi from the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina, in which he pointed out some of the problems mentioned along the years in the process of Roma inclusion in Serbia, the project manager of the Fund For An Open Society from Budapest, Nadir Redžepi, explained the activities of this organization which has since 2010 been helping the process of Euro-integration in this region with special stress on supporting the Roma community.

– Among the factors disrupting the process of development of the Roma in Serbia, apart from different historical and geographical ones, are also the lack of ambition in the Roma community to actively get involved in the process of integration, as well as the lack of desire to receive affirmation within the system itself – stressed the representative of the foundation, which is involved in the “Open up” project as a partner of the Street Musicians Festival.

Assistant Provincial Secretary for Economy, Employment and Gender Equality, Slavica Denić, presented the institutions of the Provincial Government which deal with the problems of the Roma community in Vojvodina. She emphasized how the representatives of those institutions work without much support and investment, but deal with high levels of expectation, which, as she said, is a consequence of an absent political will on all state levels for the resolution of these issues. The Deputy Provincial Ombudsman in charge of protection of national minorities, Eva Vukašinović, presented a series of specific experiences from the field, among which are also complaints of cultural activists having to do with finance distribution in project tenders not being transparent enough.


The coordinator for the question of Roma for the city of Novi Sad, Radmila Zaćirović, pointed out numerous Romani artists in Vojvodina who posses quality, but just do not receive attention on the public scene.

– Both state institutions and the Roma Council are equally to blame for this situation. The problems are also the many prejudices about the Roma in our society, as well as the fear among Roma people about opening themselves to that sort of community – said Zaćirović, among other things.

Magazine “Lice ulice” (Face of the Street) is a project of a news publication, which includes people who live and work in the streets to distribute the magazine, as a way to, through that sort of activity, improve their financial and social status. The Editor in Chief of this magazine, Milosav Marinović, presented the publication as a good platform for the promotion of various other projects intended for the expulsion of discrimination in our society.

Being the only authentic Romani artist among the participants of the discussion, the frontman of the band Kal, Dragan Ristić, reflected on the conditions in which his band had made a successful career of global proportions for themselves, emphasizing that only a stabile cultural policy would be able to open the road for similar success for other art projects from the field of Romani culture. Ristić also presented himself within the “Open up” project as the creator of the photography exhibition “Romani Caravan of Hope”, which was opened after the discussion in the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina. The exhibition unites many famed artists, scientist and other world famous public figures – Roma descendants, such as Charlie Chaplin, Django Reinhardt, Rita Hayworth, Pablo Picasso, Yul Brynner, Elvis Presley and Zlatan Ibrahimović. The exhibition will be only be opened until the end of this year’s Street Musicians Festival.


The project “Open up” will be continued on Saturday evening, with a musical program on different locations across the Novi Sad city centre. Performing as part of the program will be bands Kal and Roma Sijam from Belgrade, Gipsy Mafia from Zrenjanin, Gipsy Groove from Priština, Chisinau Youth Orchestra from Moldova and the GRUBB Foundation from Great Britain.

Photo: Miloš Čubrilo


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