Inside Outsiders :
CONCEPTUAL COOKING with the PERPETUAL GYPSY PAVILION
at FITTJA OPEN / BOTYRKA ART HALL
The Inside Outsiders project focusses with a new clarity on universal questions concerning the ‘cultural other’ and the integration/assimilation debate. It works with the unique situation of Gypsy-Romani artists in the field of contemporary arts. Drawing on the familiar issues surrounding multiculturalism, it goes beyond them, “making them strange” by literally bringing them home. At Fittja Open, together with Botyrka Art Hall, the Inside Outsiders project invites Gabi Jiminez, a renowned Gypsy-Gitano artist from France to COOK in the CONCEPTUAL COOKING series. To share bread, they say, is to share life.
CONCEPTUAL COOKING SESSION II. The COOK: Gabi Jiménez
Hedgehog (‘Niglo’ in Romanes) is a typical dish of Gypsies in France.
“There was a time, a long time ago, when Gitans would halt their wagons at the border of the forest out of fear that the Gadjos would do them harm. To eat they would gather mushrooms, roots and herbs and fruits. Meat was more difficult: birds and other animals had to be hunted. Rabbits, they realised, ran very fast and were hard to catch. It was also difficult to lay traps, for often you had to leave in great haste in your wagons.
One day, a dog returned home with a hedgehog. The Gitans had the thought to cook it like a rabbit. The taste and the texture of the meat reminded them of a rabbit or a hare. From that time on, the Gitans were never lacking in meat. Niglos (hedgehogs) were always hunted with dogs. They were trained to bring back the hedgehogs directly to the feet of the hunter. Very practical!
The recipe I propose [for the Conceptual Cooking Session II] is directly inspired by the traditional dish made with hedgehogs. In France, however, the species is now protected, and we will substitute the hedgehog with rabbit (‘chochoï’ in Romanes) which is very similar in taste.”
The Inside Outsiders project is an initiative of the Perpetual Gypsy Pavillion, a nomadic pavilion for a New ‘Gypsy Art’ in the Contemporary Condition.
The Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion was officially inaugurated during the 53rd Venice Biennale
in 2009, sparking debates and heightened awareness in the world of contemporary art. It was launched as an immediate response to emergencies facing Romani-Gypsies in Italy and Europe in general, and Gypsy artists in particular – with the unfortunate ‘no-show’ of the OSI-organised Roma Pavilion at the Biennale in 2009, which had debuted to such success in 2007. Despite such setbacks, however, we are currently witnessing an exciting dynamic in contemporary art of Gypsy origin. There is an ongoing revolution in aesthetics. There are a growing number of artists joining the contemporary art world, inventing new styles and re-developing traditional motifs for the 21st century. The absurdist-radical notion of ‘Gypsy Dada’ was first conceived in recent exhibitions by artists close to the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion and has developed rapidly with half-ironic talk of ‘Gypsy Situationism’ and further appropriations. This re-invention of received art forms as ‘Gypsy Art’ is inspired, the artists say, by the likes of Django Reinhardt’s appropriation of jazz for ‘Gypsy Jazz’. As it happens, for Fittja Open, Gabi Jiminez sent us a little Gypsy ‘Dada’ poem!
One day, a niglo farted in the water.
But that is not a niglo, said Frédo, that’s Sarko !
But who is Sarko ? answered Patcho.
That’s a gadjo king! said Toto.
Ah, I see ! So, said Frédo, why’s he talking bad about the Bobos?
So’t goes ! Said Bimbo
And so, niglos fart in the water
and the gadjos fart in the air, and it stinks !
As a nomadic pavilion of contemporary art, the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion builds on the centuries-long reality of Gypsies as an artistic well-spring of European culture. Gypsies – a recently re-appropriated word for Romani peoples of all kinds including Roma, Gitanos, Sinti, Khale, Romanichals, Manush, certain Travellers and so on – are a long-excluded, populous and remarkably creative citizenry of approximately 10-14 million Europeans. The focus of the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion is on artistic innovation, professional excellence and a new politics of inclusion. As the diverse origins of the curators and participants in the Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion illustrate, it is not a ethnically exclusive pavilion. In its practice, however, it expresses the demand and need for a perpetual representation of Gypsies in all established art forms of our time, and in particular, the field of contemporary art.
The INSIDE OUTSIDERS project is initiated by
The Perpetual Gypsy Pavilion www.PerpetualPavilion.org
a perpetuum mobilεzation by marita muukkonen and ivor stodolsky