Myself and photographer, Artur Conka are now developing a collaborative photographic project for Roma children within the UK which will begin next year. We will be working with a variety of communities in order to teach the children photography and challenge the media's negative representation of them through the images they produce.
This is Lunik IX, Europe's largest Roma community based in Slovakia, home to some 15,000 Roma gypsies. The living conditions here are poor; many of the blocks are without electricity and water is usually accessible for an hour a day from certain water pumps sparsely located around the community. In the 1980s the Slovakian Government forced anyone they deemed to be socially unmanageable into Lunik IX. This resulted in the area becoming vastly over crowded.
One of the consequences of this housing project was the emergence of corrupt individuals and groups who began to financially control the wider community within Lunik IX. These groups took control through the distribution of electricity and the maintenance of the buildings. This factor contributes to the vast sum of debt Lunik IX currently owes the electrical company. Located at the centre of the community is a nursery for the Roma children. Here the children learn a variety of subjects, the nursery provides a secure environment that any child should feel entitled too. The students' art works is noticeably advanced, some has won art competitions.