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Exhibition, workshop and a public programme on Roma building culture

Alex Ciurar, Cernat Siminoc (Roger), Christoph Wachter, Constantin Ciurar, Cristina Siminoc, Leonardo Radu, Lincan Raimond, Mathias Jud, Memo Ciurar, Stefan Raul, Vasile Siminoc and many more

The exhibition Faţadă/Façade continues this project at the HMKV and invites visitors to explore the little-known phenomenon of Roma building culture: this special form of archi-tecture, which developed in Romania, among other places, in the last 30 years, is distinguished by particularly expressive façades, in which many different forms of design are found. The (dream) homes are often provided with domes or cupolas, castle battlements or silvery, shimmering, onion-shaped roofs – the characteristic tinsmith work of the Roma.

The exhibition Faţadă/Façade builds on the collaborative art project of the same name, initiated by members of Dortmund's Roma community together with the artists Christoph Wachter and Mathias Jud and Interkultur Ruhr. Since 2018, the Werkstatt Mallinckrodtstraße has served as a space for work, research and community, where possibilities of a positive and self-determined representation of the Roma community in the urban space are explored together. After a research trip to Romania, numerous house models inspired by Roma building culture were created in the workshop over the past two years. Together, a pattern for the redesign of the façade of a residential building in Dortmund's Nordstadt district was developed and realized, which was officially inaugurated in September 2019.

The HMKV invites the team of Werkstatt Mallinckrodtstraße to present the house models that were built within the framework of the project in the exhibition Faţadă/Façade from 23 October 2020. Additionally, the workshop team will be redesigning the HMKV’s entrance area and the exhibition space on level 3 at the Dortmunder U

The exhibition illustrates how closely participation and social recognition are linked to forms of construction and housing - and how strongly racist ascriptions and prejudices about the supposedly "travelling people" still have an effect today. In history and in the present, Roma communities are among the societal groups in Europe most affected by racism and marginalisation. Due to structural disadvantaging, discrimination and violent persecution, it is still hardly possible for many people to establish a basis for a stable existence, which includes suitable living space, educational opportunities, cultural recognition and dignified working conditions.

Against this backdrop, the architectures of Roma communities in Romania can be understood as an alternative to their stigmatized position within Romanian society: They are not only manifestations of a unique building culture but also an expression of a self-empowerment. With the construction of the houses, Roma claim a place within society in a widely visible way.

This complex local, regional and at the same time European situation is followed up on by Faţadă/Façade. Roma families in Dortmund and throughout the Ruhr region also live under partly quite precarious conditions. To counter this situation, the City of Dortmund has been active for several years in areas such as housing, training, cultural work, promoting self-organization and supporting families in precarious situations. This commitment was crucial in the realization of the project Faţadă/Façade.

The social, political and economic contexts are explored in depth in the exhibition through books, articles and short films, which will be made available in a large, inviting reading area. A multifaceted accompanying event programme will enable in-depth examination and discussion of the many different aspects of the project – from questions of representation and urbanism to the topic of neighbourhood work. Details will be announced shortly.


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