First among Equals
The East Sussex town of Hastings is thought to be the first place in Britain to erect a statue of a Romany hero. On April 1st it installed a statue of Kizzy Lovell in Gensing Gardens, St Leonards. Kizzy was the main character of the 1972 book The Diddakoi which was set in the nearby town of Rye and turned into a BBC TV series in the 1970s. The book, which is 50 years old this year, is the first to explore the issue of anti-Gypsy bullying in schools.
In the sculpture Romany artist blacksmith Jake Bowers has used a white-hot forge, the original Gypsy craft, to depict the defiant woman Kizzy Lovell may have become in steel. Working with year 10 students at the Hastings Academy and Gypsy and Traveller volunteers across Sussex together they have forged a Romani heroine that will last for many years.
Jake Bowers/TT News
(All pictures: Kizzy Lovell © Jake Bowers)