18.05.2011 - UNESCO Venice Office

Call the Witness. UNESCO hosts Roma Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Courtesy of the artist -Nihad Nino Pušija, Venice Mahala Opus, 2011

Courtesy of the artist -Marika Schmiedt, VERMÄCHTNIS. LEGACY, 2010–2011

On the occasion of the 54th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2011, the UNESCO Venice Office is hosting from 1 June to 9 October 2011 “Call the Witness”, a project of the Roma Pavilion realized by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, the Netherlands. This pavilion, commissioned by the Open Society Foundations, will be among the 37 collateral events scheduled during the Art Biennale. The Roma Pavilion, through the flux of live “testimonies” -works of art, performances, talks, and conversations by and with artists, thinkers, and politicians-, will reflect on the situation of the Roma people and the emergence of contemporary Roma visual art. The project, through the contributions of various artists across Europe, will call on Roma artists to bear witness, through works of art, to their communities’ struggles and challenges.

The “proceedings” and “deliberations” in the Roma Pavilion are meant to function as propositions, both poetic and political, for how one could envision the restoration of mutual respect, ensure the future coexistence of parties in conflict, and inspire the acceptance of differences as a key ingredient of the very possibility of being together”, emphasizes Maria Hlavajova, Artistic Director of the Pavilion. UNESCO and the Council of Europe are currently finalizing guidelines for policy-makers towards ensuring the right to basic education for Roma children, with particular emphasis on improving access to early childhood educational opportunities and their transition to quality primary education. These guidelines, entitled “Including Roma and Traveller Children in early Childhood Education Services” are expected to significantly contribute to making Roma’s and Travellers’ rights to quality and successful early childhood education a reality, and to guarantee a seamless transition to primary school.

UNESCO is also a member of the International Task Force for the Education of Roma (ITFER), whose mission is to develop and ensure close coordination of the international initiatives regarding the specific domain of the education for Roma, Sinti and Travellers (early childhood care and education, schooling, out-of-school education, vocational training, adult education…).

The press release (in English and in Italian) and the Programme of live testimonies (in Italian) are available for download from the right menu.

  • Live Testimonies : 1–3 June 2011 1pm.–7pm.
  • Inauguration : 4 June 2011
  • Exhibition days : 4 June – 9 October 2011 Tuesday through Sunday 10am.-6pm.

Link : http://www.callthewitness.org

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