There is no Roma Museum of Contemporary Art. But if there were, what should it be like? What kinds of artworks should it display and to whom? Based on what principles should it build its collection? How should it relate to existing Roma collections and Roma cultural heritage? How should it address stereotypical expressions of Roma representation, and the potential pitfalls of self-representation? Is there even a need for a Roma Museum of Contemporary Art and is this the most suitable name for it?
RomaMoMA is a contemporary art project initiating a forum for collaborative reflection on a future Roma Museum of Contemporary Art, with the involvement of local [AE1] and international, Roma and non-Roma artists, cultural experts, social scientists and the civil sphere. RomaMoMA is a joint initiative of the European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and OFF-Biennale Budapest. In the form of a contemporary art project, by means of involving stakeholder communities, and exploiting the possibilities of collective thinking and discourse, as well as the critical and discursive potentials of contemporary art, it “prefiguratively creates” itself: an imagined and yet real space that is home to both the Roma arts and artists. The suffix in the title, “MoMA” (Museum of Modern Art), is a reference to the prototype of art museums, and it emphasizes the dominant role of museums in processes of canonization, as well as the lack of self-representation by minority groups in museum collections.
RomaMoMA aims to engage in a dialogue with the above actors beyond the borders of Hungary as well: as Roma identity transcends the frontiers of European nation-states, the project also urges dialogue across nations. At the same time, RomaMoMA—albeit not affiliated with any government program or party policy—is a political statement. The question of the museum is not the private business of the Roma community since it concerns the redistribution of resources and the transformation of power relations within the society. The focus is not on the realization of the institution, but on the “act” of conception. It is a discursive and performative process, in the course of which questions regarding the “museum” are discussed with the involvement of every stakeholder: collection strategies, exhibition practice, as well as art education and mediation methodology, alongside such essential questions as the image the museum should convey of the Roma, and the impact it might have on the impacted (minority and majority) communities. Furthermore, RomaMoMA devotes particular attention to addressing the young public, developing a proprietary methodology for the reinforcement of social dialogue between Roma and non-Roma communities.
Rather than the realization of a specific museum concept, the project connects a range of programs (exhibitions, film screenings, performance, workshops, etc.), modeling nomadic, flexible institutional operation, which raises questions and formulates statements with the devices of contemporary art. It aspires to achieve all of this in accordance with the museum approaches of the 21st century that extend social engagement to reconsidering the relations of museum narratives, cultural heritage, and contemporaneity. Although each of the presented artworks contributes to the creative act of the collaborative conception with a unique voice, they share a common desire for narrative, speech, and dialog; their raw material is also shared: contemporary (Hungarian) society.
The RomaMoMA project is realized within the framework of a multiple-year partnership with ERIAC. For more information, please see: https://eriac.org/what-is-roma...
And please check out the RomaMoMA blog here: https://eriac.org/category/rom...
Participating curators: Anna Lujza Szász
Consultants: Edit András, Árpád Bak, Péter Bencze, Gábor Bernáth, Mária Bogdán, Nóra Böhler, Marina Csikós, Ágnes Daróczi, Kriszta Dékei, Boglárka Fedorkó, Kata E. Fris, Anna Jávor, Etelka Jónás, Tímea Junghaus, Éva Kalla, Kálmán Káli-Horváth, Éva Kovács, Edit Kőszegi, Darius Krolikowksi, Delaine LesBas, István Gábor Molnár, Tímea Petrik, Nihad Nino Pušija, Jenő André Raatzsch, Emese Révész, Melinda Rézműves, Enikő Róka, János Sugár, Nikolett Suha, Péter Szuhay
Participating artists: Independent Theatre, Mara Oláh (Omara), Norbert Oláh, Tamás Péli
Program curators: Eszter György, Andrea Pócsik, Anna Lujza Szász, Teri Szűcs
Lector: Márk Baczoni
Partners: ERIAC, CEU Romani Studies Program, BTM – Budapest History Museum, “Keszytűgyár” – Glove Factory Community Center, Everybody Needs Art, KuglerArt Salon and Gallery, FROKK (Roma Cultural Center, Budapest)
Supported by the Municipality of Budapest, co-financed by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, Goethe-Institut Budapest