KAI DIKHAS - Place To See
Gallery for Contemporary Art of the Roma and Sinti in the AUFBAU HAUS
The gallery KAI DIKHAS will show constantly changing exhibitions of Roma and Sinti artists from all over the world. It becomes „the place of seeing “, so the translation of the name of the gallery from Romany. Only by open and impartial handling the people of the Sinti and Roma the European states and their citizens can become fair against these humans following their historical responsibility. Roma and Sinti live in all countries of Europe. Their culture is multi-nationally and less national shaped. Inseparably connected with history and culture of their respective homelands, they make thereby a contribution to the European culture, which today still usually is underestimated. They are Europeans par excellence.
The picture, which most humans of the largest European minority have, is coined by racist stereotypes, which were shaped and spread during the 20th Century nearly without exception by Gadhjos - Non-Romas. The representations are marked by a De-Individualisation of the shown, mostly in the stereotyped representation as popular musicians or the enticing exotic Roma girl.
Since the first World Roma Congress in 1971 in London, a growing number of Roma activists has met who investigate the common origin of Roma and also represent the minority politically. Among other things they reached that the Holocaust systematically committed against the minority during the Nazi time has been recognised as a racial pursuit. The number of those, which maintain the culture and above all the language of the Roma, fortunately constantly grows.
Art, in particular contemporary art, is always an expression of an individual view on the world. It is a comment to the state of our existence. In the midst of a culture, which is always located on the edge, the artists of the persecuted minority of Sinti and Roma step out more and more and document these permanent precarious situations, the steady change, the improvisation and also the migration, in their individual expression. They crash the known stereotypes with their representations. They speak for themselves and demand hearing. And exactly here in this sphere there originates the contemporary art which is of interest - also and especially to the majority society. The look from the edge of our society in which, unfortunately, also even today a lot of Roma and Sinti live is nevertheless what shows what our society is. It is what they have in common with many artists who live also under precarious circumstances. It shows us the state of ourselves, as well as any other art is capable of doing, if it is well done. One can see this politically, or, however, rather basically and vitally. What moves and what drives us.
Exhibitions of contemporary Roma art, as „Second of site“ in London in 2006 or the first pavilion for Roma art under the title "Paradise Lost" on the Venice Biennial in 2007 take the development of today's Roma art into account. Nevertheless, they are only temporary exhibitions. Apart from the Roma Museum in Brno (Czech Republic) and the Regional Museum of Tarnow (Poland), which are, however, general museums and not pure art museums, there is up to today no permanent place, which devotes itself to the contemporary art of the Sinti and Roma, which investigates, spreads and introduces it to a bigger public. Roma Artists often lack access to a public, which the artist needs for his work and living, particularly. The gallery KAI DIKHAS is to help to create remedy to this circumstance. The gallery creates a new free space. Roma artists will have the possibility to unfold and represent their talents and abilities, instead of excluding Sinti and Roma from our society. In this way the gallery will contribute to an internal and external emancipation of this culture.
The gallery KAI DIKHAS in the AUFBAU HAUS / Berlin is deeply connected with an already existing network of European Roma intellectuals and artists. They provide the gallery with new developments and contacts and also accompany the programme critically. The concept of the gallery is extended and supplemented by the Berlin-based Independent label ASPHALT TANGO, which has successfully specialized in the publication of music of the Roma of the Balkans as well as Rock, Psychedelic Folk and Electronica from Eastern Europe. You can find an exquisite and large selection of outstanding productions with music of the Roma and Sinti from all over the world. This music can also be heard and bought in the gallery KAI DIKHAS.
Moritz Pankok MA, summer 2010