Sinti and Roma: A tale of scape

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“I want a place where I can give voice to the minority”. Moritz Pankok decided to stop devising, designing and creating scenes for the best German theatres to find his origins. His childhood and his grandfather, Romany (gypsy), marked him indelibly. “The history of Sinti and Roma is a tale of escape, of exodus, which in Germany is even more significant due to Nazism”. Why would a man give up a well-paid and creative trade? “To provide a space for good artists who are hardly known and have the double task of finding their place in art and in today’s society”.

“Everybody knows flamenco, a blend of Sephardic, Arabic and Gypsy music”, says Pankok, “but it seems that people aren’t interested in knowing that this minority is very creative and has a great importance in contemporary art”. Kai Dikhas, which in Romany means “place to see”, is a young gallery that for the last two years has been trying to show that “Romany art isn’t labelled as such, but it exists; it has a past and a very different and interesting background”. Last April, Pankok set up a fascinating performance. He gathered a group of Romany artists who created a piece each, using different media, which was later exhibited in his small gallery. The event was open to the public: curious passers-by could interact with the authors and could give their opinion on the art that was being created in front of them.

The Kai Dikhas gallery is always exhibiting works by this minority which “is plural and multicultural, but has in common that gypsies are always pointed out, so their art talks about those prejudices”. Pankok is German but, as he says: “I don’t speak for the minority. With this gallery I want to give a space where they can speak for themselves”. “In every trip I take to meet Romany artists I always find the same story; they have many things in common, one of them is that they express their exclusion through creativity”.

This Creaversation was in fact the first one we had. Pankok received us in Khai Dikhas (Berlin) so gently and nicely that he will be always be one of our most important guests. This was one of the creaversations we enjoyed the most. Thank you, Moritz!