Salut / Ave Bachtalo (2002)

The main idea of the project was to reflect the way the Roma minority is stigmatised and marginalised in various European countries. For a personal show at the Offspace Gallery in Vienna, I intended to organise a meeting between a Roma ethnic from Iaşi and two Roma ethnics from  Brno, the Czech Republic. For this purpose I travelled to the two cities and, after much discussion with various members of the Roma community (discussions I actually filmed and then edited), I started the proceedings for obtaining visas for entering Austria. For the Brno Roma the problem was easily solved, but for the Romanian citizen I could not persuade the Romanian authorities to grant him a passport, as he had no stable residence.

The two cities (Brno and Vienna) were not chosen at random: in the Czech Republic, in the late '90s, racist attitudes against the Roma ethnics became a widely-discussed topic in the international media (the local council of Usti nad Labem voted to build a wall that would isolate the Roma population from the rest of the city), and in the early 2000s in Austria, the extreme-right party FPO, led by Jorg Haider, came into power based on an isolationist and xenophobic political programme.

The two Roma citizens from Brno (CZ), Karel Landori si Frantisek Holub, during their visit in Viena.


The project Salut / Ave Bachtalo was presented as a solo show at Offspace Gallery, Viena (A), 2002



The Roma families from Brno (left) and Iasi (right) which I’ve met during the project.


Image from the exhibition Salut / Ave Bachtalo, Offspace Gallery, Vienna, 2002