The British artist Delaine Le Bas and the Roma Jam-Session Art Collective (Mustafa Asan, Mo Diner, Milena Petrovic), whose works are part of the international exhibition “Everything We Have In Common”, donated works to the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje.
Delaine Le Bas will be represented in the collection of MSU Skopje with a photo from her current project entitled “Roma Embassy”. Conceived according to the idea of a Roma Revolution, the project “Roma Embassy” was performed for the first time as a performance for the project “When the Fuel Runs Out, People Will Look for Horses” in London, in June 2015.
Delaney Le Bass’s statement: “We as a community do not have ‘one homeland’, nor a state, nor a nation-state. We are not in many countries, but we are never fully accepted, and we can be wiped out as a population at any time. We are the embodiment of an international population, we have many religions, we speak many languages and there are many versions of our language. We have little political representation and no embassy to turn to in times of trouble.”
The “Roma Embassy” is an information point, a living archive, an embodiment of the return of the stolen artifact we have become. The work can be variable in size and scope, change appearance, appear and disappear, it is a mobile, flexible structure. It consists of a cardboard sign created in motion. The same exists in real and virtual space and time. It can be made up of one person, or more. The same is a distribution point through which the opinion of the majority in society and systemic violence against the Roma are questioned. The work is a silent act of resistance. The Roma Embassy is a photograph, a performance in process, a work of art, activism.
Delaine Le Bass is an artist who works in multiple artistic media and creates installations, performances, photographs and films. She is one of the sixteen artists who are part of “Paradise Lost”, the First Roma Pavilion at the Venice Biennale since 2007. She has exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2007), Prague Biennale (2005 and 2007), Gwangju Biennale (2012), Zaketa National Art Gallery (2013), MWW Museum of Contemporary Art Wroclaw (2014), D-O Contemporary Art Biennale Ark Underground, Bosnia and Herzegovina (2015), Biennale Of, Budapest (2015), Gothenburg Extended International Biennale of Contemporary Art and others.
The gift of the Art Collective Roma Jam-Session, “Open Roma Culture” consists of 8 graphic posters (each 70 x 99 cm.)
Open Roma Culture work was created for the Anniversary of 50 Years of the World Roma Congress shown in London and Berlin at the exhibition World Roma Congress Art in 2021. The 1971 World Roma Congress was a milestone of the International Romani Movement. Art and culture have been a strong inspiration for the political movement of Roma and Sinti since then and continue to play an essential role as a form of civic expression, as well as an emancipation and cultural resistance strategy. The Roma community from Skopje, North Macedonia is a part of the European Roma Society. Its founders Shaip Jusuf (North Macedonia), Jan Cibula (Switzerland), Grattan Puxon (England), Eva Davidova (Czechoslovakia), Vanko Rouda (France), Žarko Jovanović (Yugoslavia), Juan de Dios Ramirez Heredia (Spain), and Ladislav Demeter (Yugoslavia) had a vision. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the International Romani Movement in Europe, the artists’ vision is to demand again and forever to be seen in all states and societies with equal rights and equal chances.
The Roma Jam Session Art Collective (RJSaK), (Mustafa Asan, Mo Diener, Milena Petrovic) perform in public spaces and art institutions in order to make the current issues of the Roma visible. The Zurich based artist group works transdisciplinary with members engaged in art, theater, music and design. Since their first intervention in 2013, RJSaK has shown their work in Zurich at Shedhalle, Corner College, Maxim Theater, Toni Areal, ZHdK, Kunsthaus, Johann Jacobs Museum, and Helmhaus, as well as at the Kunstmuseum in Basel. In addition to their public appearances, the collective is also actively involved in campaigns with other Roma organizations and NGOs. Between 2014 and 2016, RJSaK was active in a working group of the Federal Office for Culture (BAK), in which the rights and recognition of the Roma, Sinti and Jenisch minorities in Switzerland were discussed and worked on. Among other things, it brought the CHROMA – Sudden Presences intervention in April 2018 to the 1st Roma Biennale and the Romaparade to Berlin. Since then, the collective has developed both transnationally and intersectionally, and has established cooperation with die grosse umordnung (the great disorder), a queer-feminist art project with manyfold alliances. In 2019, RJSaK will actively participate in the launch of the RomArchive, the first digital archive on the history, culture, politics and art of the Roma in Europe.
Mo Diener (Switzerland) works transdisciplinary and conceptually in the field of critical art and theory in Switzerland. Mo Diener designs performative interventions, public performances and assemblages. In 2009/2010, she started a research of her maternal (Roma/Sinti) ancestors, which she continued in the context of her Science, Fiction & Politics artistic research project at The Bern School of Arts (HKB). She pursued her artistic research at the MA program of Fine Arts at ZHdK. In the context of her thesis and together with RR Marki and Milena Petrovic, she founded the Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv.
Mustafa Asan (RR Marki, North Macedonia) is a Roma artist and activist who investigates and exposes historical and socio-political topics of visibility of the Roma art and culture in Europe. He was born in Skopje, where he graduated at the Technical University. In Zurich, he attended the F+F Art School and was active as a radio presenter in the Romani language for Radio Lora Romanes. In 2013, he co-founded the Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv with the artist Mo Diener and the actress Milena Petrovic.
Milena Petrovic (1967, Serbia) is an Austrian and Swiss citizen. She was studying acting in Zurich. She has worked on diverse projects for film and theater stage, among others in the Schauspielhaus Zurich and Maxim Theater Zurich. She was also engaged in Swiss Television SF1 and in independent film projects. She was an active member of the Maxim Theater company. With their socio-critical pieces the theater was touring on the Swiss German theater stages. She is one of the founding members of the Roma Jam Session art Kollektiv.