AGRUSTIC SOMNACUNI || ROMANY || CRADLE || LET US PRAISE THE ROM || CHUPPA || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' ||  'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || AUREO ANELLO || Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu/ Julia Bolton Holloway 2012

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CRADLES IN LIBRARIES

ROM APPRENTICESHIP



Our library, in the spirit of Fioretta Mazzei, is a place where scholars from Princeton's Institute for Advanced Study can come and study. Part of it is on anti-discrimination, a shelf of books on Black culture, Aborigine culture, American Indian culture, on indigenous and nomadic peoples subjected by dominant cultures to poverty and despair. And it is a place where Roma (gypsies, Europe's largest and poorest minority) can learn to write their names and to read. We have set up an apprenticeship for them. In the first place, dignifying and welcoming them with photographs of themselves, seen by both themselves and non-Roma, who exclaim over their beauty. Where we can teach skills - but we find they already have them instinctively - gardening, paper marbling, carpentry.





These sisters and daughter-in-law are working, with their brothers, for funds for their families. Their mother is now back in Romania where the rest of the extended family is looking after the babies and children. So I explained to artists that the Roma are very chaste, marrying young, being faithful, and could only pose if fully dressed and chaperoned. I explained, too, that the Roma have traditionally been artists' models. Jill Hammer and her friend took us up on the offer. First they sketched them in the nearby park because their studio mates did not want a Rom invasion. Then I invited them to our archway, which we found an ideal place.




I had already been working with the brothers and sisters, weeding the Cemetery, planting its bulbs. Next I made the discovery that the two sisters are excellent carpenters. In one day we built a cradle which now graces our library as earlier ones had.

One of the brothers has begged for it as his wife is pregnant, who is looking after all the children there, and it will go back to Romania. Next we asked the two sisters if we could visit their barracca. So we took the bus together, then walked into the countryside and this is what we found, five bedrooms for seven people, chairs and tables outside with a fireplace in the open, water and food hanging in bags from trees. Resourceful, charming, poor, with dignity. What we say is 'Keep your culture. Learn ours. Have both at once. Your families are stronger than ours.'


I shall have them help me build yet another cradle. Already they have helped me build more bookshelves for our library. We send the money to Romania as a donation to their family for their mother. I love these people for their courtesy, their gracefulness, their skills. These are Europe's and the world's future. A people with no army, no frontiers, simply being families. Not to be feared or despised, but instead treasured and welcomed.

See also http://www.ringofgold.eu/chuppa.html
http://www.ringofgold.eu/hedera.html
http://www.ringofgold.eu/karengraffeo.html
http://www.ringofgold.eu/zita.html#gypsy
http://nigeldickinson.com/gallery/finlandroma
http://www.pbase.com/haraldmedboe/project
RAI 1. Il Silenzio di Dio, Isabella Schiavone, Easter Day, 2008.




He drew a circle that shut me out--
   Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
   We drew a circle that took him in!

                           Edwin Markham


See also http://monatessa.blogspot.com
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/14185334

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AGRUSTIC SOMNACUNI || ROMANY || CRADLE || LET US PRAISE THE ROM || CHUPPA || MEDIATHECA 'FIORETTA MAZZEI' ||  'ENGLISH' CEMETERY || AUREO ANELLO || Daniel-Claudiu Dumitrescu/ Julia Bolton Holloway 2012