Tomáš Rafa paints and reminds on segregation walls

tomas-rafa_velka-ida2013Visual artist and film-maker Tomáš Rafa keeps reminding on a new phenomenon of so-called ’sports’ walls which even more isolate the inhabitants of Roma settlements. In recent time, together with team of volunteers he has painted 200 meters long concrete wall in Veľká Ida in the East of Slovakia. By this and other projects, he want to bring public attention on the critical state of co-existence of majority population and Roma minority. He emphasizes necessity of a dialogue.


„There is 3 thousand people living in Veľká Ida, approximately half of them are Roma people from which 650 lives in the settlement. The settlement is separated from the rest of the village by a long almost 3-meters high concrete wall. It was built in the beginning of 2013 and the most of settlement inhabitants think that it is separating them even more. Building concrete walls does not help mutual understanding and coexisting and only deepens the problem of separating Roma people from the rest of society and leads to serious conflicts as it is clearly visible in Czech Republic,“ says Rafa who observers and documentates expressions of extremism in his long-term project New Nationalism in the Heart of Europe.
tomas-rafa_velka-ida4From the very beginning of painting event in Veľká Ida, we were joined by tens of children and young people. They were painting the wall from the settlement side and during 6 days, they finished a group piece covering 600 m2 area by a motive of Roma flag. The event was supported also by Roma rappers and activists from Czech village Krupka - concerts of Roma bands Dela Negra and Black Style were attended by most of the settlement inhabitants. The project production was supported by Žilina based NGO called Truc sphérique in cooperation with Periférne centrá and Slam poetry.
tomas-rafa_velka-idaTomáš Rafa’s project entitled “Sport Walls 2013″ follows on the walls painted during previous years in Michalovce, Sečovce and Ostrovany. Recent realization is coming along with opening of Rafa’s exhibition called “Competition for Czech-Roma flag” in ArtWall gallery in Prague which has provoked large public discussion. The exhibition was violated by anonymous overpainting of artist’s pieces and by filling a criminal complaint by Czech Nationalistic Party DSSS towards ArtWall gallery.

Tomáš Rafa (1979), painter and film-maker, focuses on the issue of extremism in Slovak, Czech republic and Poland. He was awarded Oskar Čepan Prize 2011 for New Nationalism in the Heart of Europe project. For several years, he has been photographing and video documenting problems of coexistence between Roma minority and majority or differences between patriotism and extremism. Often, he finds himself in the middle of action or local conflict, he travels and makes various engaged art activities, mainly in public space. He has graduated Art Academy in Banská Bystrica and Art Academy in Warsaw.

FOTODOKUMENT “ŠPORTOVÉ MÚRY 2013:”Tomáš Rafa photo archive.

Thanks to the volunteers!: Marek Halász, Andrej Poliak, Igor Babiak.

logo_rafa_Tomáš Rafa’s “Sport Walls 2013” project executed by Truc sphérique NGO is supported by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through Active Citizenship and Inclusion programme facilitated by Ekopolis Foundation in cooperation with Foundation for Children of Slovakia and SOCIA - Foundation for social changes.


Detailed info about the project Sport walls 2013

From exclusion to inclusion – we attract public attention at the excluded Roma communities living in the settlements. We involve the inhabitants of the settlements into art activism and we create together visual art work on the segregation walls. We make the documentary video-film and prepare further cultural events and public discussions.

The aim of the project is an art-happening. We make a film-documentary about the relations between the majority and Roma minority in different situations of their everyday life. We map the situation of the settlements segregated by the concrete walls in the Eastern Slovakia. The project maps the problematic areas of the co-living of Roma and the majority and also historical and mental discourse.

The main output of the project are the film materials and we spread the materials via different channels:
- on-line by the project web-page
- film screenings and public discussions
- discussion at school
- exhibitions in Slovakia and abroad

Contacts: and Truc sphérique

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