The Rom Madonnas
The Rom Madonnas is a series of portraits of Rominy women and children that were completed in Rome, Italy between 2004-2006. In contemplation of Michelagelo's Pietà, which means both piety and pity, the portraits acknowledge the everyday presence of gypsy women and children who work begging or performing in the streets.
In making the portraits I discover the depth of hatred, from non-rominy people, that is angled toward these women and children, who work fulfilling familial and cultural roles. On many occasions, I sat unbearably perturbed as dinner conversations turned to the most vile of jokes at their expense. I've seen them physically assaulted and verbally abused in the public and witnessed how unreachable the demands of assimilation were when it came to Rominy people.
With the Rominy diaspora across Europe, their displacement, culture and livelihood are cause for much discussion and racial divides remain as strong as ever was. The artworks invite the viewer to, at the very minimum, sit face to face and learn their name.