Role Models, 2010

Portraits of individual Romanies who because of their outstanding achievements as artists, actors, writers break the stereotypes of a ‘Gypsy’ and act as Role models in their communities. The photographs were taken in subjects' home environments and together with accompanying written accounts and recorded testimonies show the current situations and concerns of these people and their communities.

Bobby Rostas
Roma Actor
East Ham, 2009
'I’ve been in a couple of Hollywood films, of course
which was very very interesting experience for
me because I got to meet a lot of very interesting
people, and interesting directors and actors such
as Ridley Scott who directed the Gladiator film and
Russell Crowe and Clint Eastwood as well, so not
many Roma gypsy people get to meet the famous
people which I had a chance to meet. 
I am not Traveller Gypsy. I just want to find a place
that I can stay. That goes for almost all our Roma
people. I don’t like to travel in different areas for
example, I don’t have wagons or horse to go to
different areas. We just want to get our own place
and live somewhere quietly and not to be pushed
out from other places. Some people want to live
away from the city because when they hear, or they
know that they’re gypsy that’s the only reason they
move away because they know that people treat
them differently.'

Damian Le Bas
Romany Journalist and Dramatist
Stockwell, 2010
'I’ve been writing little stories since when I was a
small child and I dreamed of doing a book (All Change!
Romani Studies Through Romani Eyes with Thomas
Acton, 2010) since when I was probably eight or nine,
when I first got into books.
I didn’t think the first book I would do would be like
this, like an academic volume of essays, but it’s good. I
more write drama really, plays, drama for the radio and
hopefully for the TV soon. And I’m doing a graphic novel.'
with two friends of mine about a bicycle courier who
fuses with his bike. I like all kind of books, short stories.
I work for, as well as the BBC and the Romany theatre,
I work for Travellers Times, which is Britain’s only
magazine really that’s for Gypsies and Travellers and
where they can share news and advertise things
to each other and share a bit of reminiscence and

Delaine Le Bas
Romany Artist
Worthing, 2009
'And this whole thing about people migrating, which
people seem to just put on Gypsies to a degree, is like
a... it’s a natural thing, that’s what humans have always
done. In order to survive you migrate. Birds migrate all
the time and why do they do that? Because it’s part of
their survival. They have to do that, and it’s the same
with man. I think what it is is people trying to sort of
distance themselves from who they are actually, who we
are as human beings.'

Delaine Le Bas is part of the U.K Romany community.
In her works she explores many of the experiences
of intolerance, misrepresentation, transitional
displacement and homelessness that the community
continues to experience. She uses multi media creating
installations that include performance and music.
Le Bas’ work was included in Paradise Lost, The
First Roma Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2007; Refusing
Exclusion, Prague Biennale 3, Prague 2007: Living
Together, Museo De Arte Contemporeanea De Vigo,
Spain, 2009 (curated by Emma Dexter and Xabier
Arakistain). Her most recent exhibition was Forgeiners
Everywhere, with Claire Fontaine, Karl Holmqvist and
Damian Le Bas at Dvir Gallery, Tel Aviv. She is included
in Sixty: Innovators Shaping Our Creative Future by
Thames & Hudson. Delaine Le Bas is represented
by Galleria Sonia Rosso, Turin and Galerie Giti
Nourbakhsch, Berlin.

Dan Allum
Romany Playwright
Cambridge, 2009
'It’s always interesting to understand something from,
no matter how horrific, it’s interesting to understand
something from another person’s point of view. We can
all sort of judge and do what we want, but you don’t
really learn anything unless we learn why they actually
did it in the first place, you know. And as a writer I just
need to find out as much as I can about human beings
really. Good or bad.

I don’t have a nostalgia for travelling. There was no
privacy. Because, I come from a big family, nine. We
lived in one caravan or a tent and you don’t have any
private space, there isn’t any. And you don’t live inside
because there’s not enough room. You basically go
inside to eat and than get out really. So, there’s no
private space around.

Being A Traveller....It means that I am from a culture.
It just really means to me that I am just from a culture
of people. I don’t know, you know, I think we’re just all
human beings. I mean being a Gypsy just means to
me that I was brought up in a very specific way. I don’t
know whether it means anything to me as a person. It
just means that I was brought up in a very particular
way with very particular set of rules and regulations, you
know. Because Gypsies are just as tied down as anyone
else. More so maybe. Because of the rules and the
oppression; you have to do this, you have to do that, you
know. It’s just a different set of rules. But you know the
way I’ve been brought up, like all of us, you know, it’s in
our blood, and it’s what we are and makes us who we
are and we just have to accept that and live it really. I
mean, obviously, for me it’s a; you know it’s a certain
kind of thing about it, it’s in my blood and it drives me,
you know. Some good, some bad.'

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