Innovative ‘Gypsy Maker’ art project presents artists Artur Conka and Bill Kerry


13 January 2017 / The Romani Cultural & Arts Company

The Romani Cultural & Arts Company (RCAC) is proud to announce new exhibitions of works of the two artists Artur Conka and Bill Kerry.

These exciting installations of specially commissioned work are the latest in our groundbreaking Gypsy Maker project—an initiative that supports the development of innovative works by established and emerging Gypsy, Roma and Traveller artists.

The Gypsy Maker project expands the work of the RCAC by continuing to engage GRT communities with the wider public in ongoing dialogue about the ways in which art continues to inform the lives of individuals and communities today.

Artur Conka is a photography graduate from the University of Derby. One of the few Roma to have documented his community from behind the lens; Conka’s photography and film making focus on the plight of the Roma, Gypsies and Travellers in Europe.

“Working with the Romani Cultural Arts Company has been a relationship to cherish. The RCAC gives a platform that so few do not, especially to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups. Its approach to tirelessly establishing ground breaking understanding about GRT communities has helped change people’s lives,” says Artur Conka.

Photo 2 Artur Conka (600px * 400px)

(“Haluski Kapusta” cabbage dumplings © Artur Conka 2011))

 Originally from one of the poorest Roma communities in Slovakia, Conka returned years later to record how life had changed for its inhabitants during its decline. The result was his first documentary film ‘Lunik IX’. Conka’s work has appeared in various international publications including Huffington Post, The Independent and Vice Magazine and we look forward to presenting his original and innovative approach to filmmaking and photography in this new exhibition.

Billy Kerry was trained at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, where he achieved a First class Honours Degree in Fine Art. Since graduating in 2009 he has been inspiring others by teaching and supporting at Cambridge Regional College.

“It’s been fantastic having the opportunity to work with The Romani Cultural and Arts Company,” said Bill Kerry.

“The RCAC has supported and guided me at the same time as allowing me to be very free with my work. As an artist and educator I am overjoyed to be asked to hold workshops with schools as I see creative education as important in creating richer individuals from all walks of life.”

Photo 1 Bill Kerry (599px * 1000px)

 (Fur-Coat © Billy Kerry 2016))

Kerry’s eclectic practice narrates the close interrelation between artist and material—between body and object. His new exhibition of sculptural and collaged artworks investigates and challenges preconceived views of Gypsies, gender roles and constructed conformity. These works employ diverse conceptual elements and aesthetic motifs ranging from Victoriana to current Pop Culture in clashes which challenge established values to allow new insight into the way we live today.

The RCAC’s work in this area has been recognised and supported by the Welsh Government.

“I am pleased to support the latest instalment of the ground-breaking Gypsy Maker project,” said Welsh Assembly Member Julie James.

“The exhibition offers a much needed insight into the sometimes misunderstood GRT community and allows their distinct culture and heritage to be enjoyed by the wider population,” she added.

Sybil Crouch, Head of Cultural Services, Taliesin Arts Centre, agreed that GRT artists were essential in the fight to break down stereotypes.

“Helping to break down the ignorance and prejudice that persists about GRT communities – artists are again at the forefront of busting stereotypes and bringing light and understanding to what remains a serious problem in our society,” she said.

Exhibition times and venues:

Artur Conka: ‘Rarebit Please!’ and Billy Kerry’s ‘All Fur-Coat’

The Romani Cultural & Arts Company invites you to see the works and meet the artist at the opening of these new exhibitions by Artur Conka and Bill Kerry.

Both artists will be exhibiting at the following venues between these dates:

13th January to 4th February 2017

Ceri Richards Gallery, Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University, Swansea, SA2 8PZ Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 1pm, 1.30pm – 4pm

9th February to 25th March 2017

The Riverfront Kingsway, Newport NP20 1HG – FREE ADMISSIOM – Monday to Saturday 10am – 5pm

3rd April to 29th April 2017

Art Central Town Hall, King Square, Barry, CF63 4RW – FREE ADMISSION – Monday to Saturday 10am – 4pm

Romani Cultural & Arts Company

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