An exhibition entitled “The Discarded” was held under the RoUm project which brings together artists and members of the Roma community who work together on converting waste into uniquely designed artistic items.
The RoUm project is being implemented within the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, as part of the Kitchen of Diversity flagship, which deals with the topics of minorities, migrations and activism. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that this unusual exhibition found its home within this particular ECoC programme strand.
Having taken place from 11th through 13th of October at RiHub’s ground floor and recently in the open space of RiUse, “The Discarded” showcased more than thirty items which used to be metal, electronic or wooden waste. The members of the Roma community in cooperation with non-Roma artists and designers converted these waste items into – art.
The exhibits gradually came into existence during the last year and a half at workshops held in Rijeka and, in actual fact, “The Discarded” is a story of how these items were given a new lease on life. Apart from having been converted into uniquely designed artistic items, each of them also features a short description explaining what the item used to be and who made it. This particular approach to work ethics enables the RoUm project to raise environmental awareness, contribute to social inclusion, preserve old crafts, develop the love of art and design, and advocate for the values put forth by its host flagship, the Kitchen of Diversity: unity, solidarity and mutual acknowledgement.
The project leader, Tamara Puhovski pointed out that the workshops and the exhibition serve as an introduction to what awaits us next year, when under the European Capital of Culture project, Rijeka will host a several-day event entitled RoUm up Days:
“As part of the European Capital of Culture project, the RoUm project is increasingly gaining visibility, which in fact was our primary goal. We are very pleased with the development of this story, and we are currently working on promoting last year’s Roma attendees of our workshops into mentors. Additional wind to our sails has to be the initiative of our colleagues in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv – this year’s European Capital of Culture, who started their own RoUm Plovdiv, modelled on our Croatian project.”
The Croatian RoUm project was devised by Tamara Puhovski, Jagoda Novak, Siniša Senad Musić and Milan Mitrović.
A special attraction of the exhibition were children’s playrooms which took place on Saturday. Through interactive education and play, led by our organisers, our youngest visitors learned what is waste, can it stop being waste, and how to convert and reuse it. Through playful activities, stories were devised about the exhibits – how they came to be, what else could they have become, but the activities also included conversations with the children about the Roma community, their tradition and lifestyle.
After Rijeka, the exhibition travels to Labin, where visitors will be able to experience it in the premises of the Labin Art Express association (Rudarska 1), on the 14th and 15th of October. The exhibition’s mini tour ends in Zagreb at the beginning of November, in partnership with the Radiona (Makerspace) association.
Apart from being a constituent part of the ECoC programme, the RoUm project is also being implemented in cooperation with Rijeka’s Federation of Associations Molekula under the Clubture platform. The contributors to the Clubture-HR programme, exchange and cooperation are the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, the City of Zagreb – City office for culture, the “Kultura nova” Foundation and the National Foundation for Civil Society Development via the Centres of Knowledge project.