ARTromnja is a collaborative project between Romane Romnja and the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture – ERIAC, born out of a necessity and shared ambition to combat the prevalence of Roma misrepresentation – especially with regard to Roma women – in the media. The ARTromnja project aims to amplify Roma women voices and highlight Roma women contributions to the field of arts and culture through the personal accounts of six Sinti and Roma women artists and changemakers.
The video series features Simonida and Sandra Selimovic, Mihaela Dragan, Concetta Sarachella, Natasa Tasic Knezevic and Zita Moldovan as they reflect on their lives and professional achievements, their personal struggles and their evolution as artists, while discussing topics such as intersectionality, prejudice against women, and the patriarchy. Watch all the interviews below.
Concetta Saracella is a Roma fashion designer, activist and cultural mediator from Italy. In this interview, she addresses the obstacles she has had to overcome as a Roma woman and highlights how, in her work, her Roma identity plays a central role in creating a mutual space of belonging between Roma and Italian culture.
Zita Moldovan is a Roma actress, journalist, and fashion designer from Romania. In 2014 she co-founded the Giuvlipen Theater Company, the first independent Roma feminist theater company in Romania. In addition, during her 15-year career, she has been actively involved in the Roma feminist and antiracist movement, working as a theater trainer in Roma communities and in various campaigns for Roma rights. Zita has recently won the Tajsa Roma Cultural Heritage Prize 2021, for her exceptional contribution to the Roma arts and culture scene.
Natasa Tasic Knezevic
Nataša Tasić Knežević is a Roma soprano, opera singer, and soloist at the Serbian National Theatre in Novi Sad, Serbia. Characterized by her crystal clear tone, Nataša would captivate audiences at every performance. In the video, Nataša recalls the struggles that she had to face as a Roma woman, trying to establish her career as an opera singer. “Characters who are supposed to be white should be played exclusively by white people” was a racist approach that Natasa often encountered during the early stages of her career. Natasa has won many international prizes and has performed all over Europe along with well-established artists such as Johanes Harnajt, Jasmina Trumbetaš-Petrović, Radmila Bakočević, David Bižić, Marijana Mijanović and Djordje Nesic.
Mihaela Dragan is a Roma actress and playwright from Romania. In 2014, she founded Giuvlipen Theatre Company in collaboration with other Roma actresses, touching upon issues of early marriage, antigypsyism, hate speech, hyper-sexualization, eviction, and heteronormativity. In addition, she has given multiple talks like the Producing Roma Feminist Theatre and has been a speaker for TEDxEroilor and Creative Mornings. In this video, Mihalea talks about the importance of Roma arts and culture in conveying political and social messages. Her vision is to create a platform for all the Roma actors in Romania and advocate for the creation of a national Roma theater.
Simonida Selimović is a Roma actress from Serbia. During her early childhood, she immigrated with her family to Austria, where she began her career as an actress in film / television and theatre. In 2010 she co-founded Romano Svato, the first feminist and professional Roma theatre association in Austria. In this interview, Simonida talks about the motives that pushed her to create Romano Svato, the most prominent one being her urge to create and produce her own stories about Roma and to use theatre as an engine for social movement.
Sandra Selimović is a Roma actress, director, and singer from Serbia. At the age of 5, she immigrated with her family to Austria, where she established her acting career. In 2010, together with her sister Simonida Selimović, she founded Romano Svato, the first feminist and professional Roma theatre association. Sandra is also a strong advocate of Roma women’s empowerment and is also committed to fighting antigypsyism. In this interview, Sandra shares her vision of expanding the scope of Roma arts into the mainstream art world and institutionalizing Roma art by having our own public theaters.
ARTromnja is a collaboration between Romane Romnja and the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture – ERIAC, developed by Gordana Herold and Bruno Neurath-Wilson. The project is sponsored by the International Press Institute (IPI) as part of the NewsSpectrum Fellowship programme.