Countering Persecution, Misconceptions, and Nationalism: Roma Identity and Contemporary Activist Art

  • Jasmina Tumbas
Part of the Avant-Gardes in Performance book series (AGP)


The bodies of Roma are in danger, as are their manifold cultural legacies and futures, which have been violated and erased by political and social mechanisms of systematic oppression, murder, and discrimination. At the same time, these bodies have been and continue to be marginalized within the sphere of art. My contribution to this volume highlights the art and activist works of two artists of Romani descent who point to and inhabit those bodies in danger: Marika Schmiedt from Austria and Lidija Mirković, from Serbia and currently based in Germany. Situating the urgency of these artists’ practices within the contemporary context of the political, cultural, and social discriminatory systems mediated through visual discourses, this essay sketches the background upon which these artists’ interventions take place, presenting examples from popular culture of primitivizing and racist stereotypes of Roma constructed by non-Roma, including the perpetuation of such known derogatory epithets as “Gypsy Witches,” “Global Nomads,” “Bohemians,” “Fortune Tellers,” and “Parasites.”

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jasmina Tumbas
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Global Gender and Sexuality StudiesUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA

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