5 – 10 April, 2016
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For the third year in a row, the Association EPEKA, a social enterprise, organised a multi-day cultural and educational programme featuring Roma culture and promoting intercultural coexistence as part of the celebration of World Roma Day (Romani kafenava, EPEKA Gallery, Regional MuseumMaribor).

The celebration was organised in cooperation with the Roma Community Association Umbrella-Dežnik, the Roma Information Centre Anglunipe and the Roma Association Romani kafenava dobrota, a social enterprise.

On World Roma Day, we celebrate Roma culture and heritage and highlight the contribution of Roma culture to our common European culture and local community.

Every year, the celebration raises serious concerns about the difficult situation faced by Roma both in Slovenia and abroad. They are particularly vulnerable in today’s economic situation, which has particularly affected young people. Young Roma face discrimination in many areas. Their access to rights and social inclusion in society is constantly being hindered. ‘Anti-gypsyism’ is a new, specific form of racism against Roma and probably the main factor preventing young people from accessing education and realising their full potential.

The average age of Roma in Europe is lower than the EU average. It is important to support young people at the beginning of their life cycle, when they are about to reach the peak of their life and creativity.

The refugee crisis also affects our daily lives through the media, which emphasises that the foundation of society is coexistence and solidarity, which is undoubtedly worth supporting, regardless of the poor economic situation.

The World Roma Day in Maribor, at the Romani Kafenava, is undoubtedly the biggest event for the Roma community in the last two years. 2016 will be no different. We are expecting many guests; more than 40 foreign guests have already been confirmed, including representatives of the Roma community from Macedonia and Croatia.

In 2014 and 2015, we organised an interesting three-day programme including various activities, which we want to enrich and extend this year. A special feature of this year will be the cooperation between the Roma minority and immigrants. Migrants will further enrich World Roma Day, as we believe that this cooperation is needed at both local and national level. Who else can show the public what is the right thing to do and how to react to the refugee crisis than the most marginalised Roma – the largest minority in Europe? They are the ones who understand best what it is like to be an unwelcome stranger wherever you go, because they have been experiencing it for centuries.

This year, we have particularly focused on the situation of Roma women and their independence. That is why we have officially named the event “World Roma Women’s Day”. We stress the need to achieve gender equality at all levels. That’s why we invited Esma Redzepova, the queen of Roma music, and Serena Raggi, an Italian Roma artist, to give us their artistic way of answering some of the questions and challenges of the future.

In addition, on the second anniversary of the opening of the first Roma restaurant Romani kafenava, we continue our work and inaugurate the handover of Romani kafenava to the new Roma association Romani kafenava dobrota, a social enterprise. The aim of the handover was to empower the Roma community by empowering them to run the business themselves and thus acquire additional skills and competences. The Romani kafenava project was funded by the European Social Fund and the Ministry of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia – and continues its work, aiming to achieve a sustainable impact and social inclusion of Roma men and women.

Programme of the World Roma Day Festival:

An afternoon beyond borders
5 April 2016 at 4 p.m.
EPEKA Gallery, Koroška cesta 8, Maribor

We were visited by migrants and refugees currently accommodated in Ljubljana. We learned about their cultures, languages and music and discovered together how to live in harmony.

FORCED WORK – exhibition opening
Germany, forced labourers and World War II
From 6 April to 9 May 2016
EPEKA Gallery, Koroška 8, Maribor

Opening at 7 p.m. in EPEKA Gallery

In cooperation with the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorial Foundation, we have organised a commemorative exhibition at the EPEKA Gallery on the symbolic date of 6 April, the 75th anniversary of the attack on the old Yugoslavia, or the bombing of the then capital Belgrade, and the closure on Victory Day, 9 May.

During the Second World War, more than 20 million people from all over Europe were forced to work in the labour camps of the German Reich. National Socialist Germany had long planned and prepared for the war, which was carried out with the aim of subjugating and exploiting Europe. To this end, they plundered the occupied territories and took millions of men into forced labour.

Forced labourers had to work wherever they were assigned – in arms factories, on building sites, in agriculture, in shops or in private households. All Germans – whether a soldier in the occupying army in Poland or a farmer’s wife in Thuringia – had the right to use them. National-socialist racist ideology was reflected in all aspects of relations with forced labourers. Nevertheless, there was some room for leniency towards them, and if a worker suffered humiliation or abuse, there were cases of some vestiges of humanity, but that depended largely on the supervisors in individual cases.

The core of the exhibition comprised more than sixty representative case studies, which together serve to make the complex subject of forced labour understandable and tangible for visitors. These case studies have been meticulously researched and compiled specifically for the exhibition from a wide range of archives in Europe. The exhibition website provides a small glimpse into the exhibition itself.

This international travelling exhibition is the first to tell the whole story of forced labour under National Socialism and its aftermath after 1945 in its own way. It also sheds light on the racially based relations between Germans and forced labourers.

The exhibition was organised in cooperation with the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorial Foundation and as part of the project Roma Genocide – Part of European History, supported by the EU’s Europe for Citizens programme.

Of particular note is the fact that the Slovene writer Boris Pahor, a Slovene from Trieste, was forced to work in Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp.

For more information see:
Press and Publicity Department
Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation
Phone +49 (0) 3643 430 156
Fax +49 (0) 3643 430 100


www.epeka.si / epeka@epeka.si / www.facebook.com/epeka.slovenia

From 24 March to 14 May 2016
Maribor Regional Museum, Partizan Cinema

The exhibition was created by women from three Roma communities: Serdica, Maribor and Kerin Grm. A mosaic of objects, photographs and inspiring life stories invited us to enter the intimacy of the living room of the bearers of family life.

The many voices echoing in the rich heritage of motherhood customs and practices shatter the image of a homogeneous Roma culture.

The exhibition is part of the Access to Cultural Heritage for Vulnerable Groups project, funded by the European Union from the European Social Fund and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

More at www.museum-mb.si

Serena Raggi – exhibition opening
From 7 April to 8 May 2016
EPEKA Gallery, Koroška cesta 8, Maribor

The exhibition opened at 7 p.m.

Serena Raggi is an artist who explores beauty. More precisely, a type of beauty that is not only meant to be the usual beauty as we have conceived it in Western civilisation, but strives for the beauty of imperfection. Starting with the details and colours of the contemporary intersection of the Western world with the collective iconographic ideals of those cultures that are too often stereotyped as “inferior” and which, in Serena’s opinion, are overflowing with creativity. Her works have a strong social aspect, as they include traditions, stories and figures from the Roma population, India, Iran, Romania, and Bulgaria. Her inspiration comes from the peoples with whom she is connected, especially by women, and touches on her travels.


Serena Luna Raggi was born in 1989 in Bologna. She has exhibited in several galleries in Italy (including Magazzini del Sale in Cervia, Bologna, Milan, Rome) and Bucharest at ArtXpert Gallery.

Artist’s website: www.serenalunaraggi.tumblr.com

Serena Luna Raggi Facebook page.

World Romani Women’s Day
8 April 2016
Romani kafenava, Gorkega 34, Maribor

10.30 a.m.

Presentation of the “European Roma Capital” project

After the European Capital of Culture, the Association EPEKA, a social enterprise, continues its activities in a sustainable way, both in the field of arts and culture and in the field of social inclusion and the promotion of intercultural dialogue at international level. The European Capital of Culture project has left a big mark on the city. As a result, the Association EPEKA, Soc. Ent., was the first in Europe to innovatively propose the creation of a new title at European and international level – European Roma Capital. The selected city would become the emblematic European Roma Capital for one year. The title is still in the drafting phase. Together with our partners, we hope to see it in place in the EU financial perspective 2015-2020.


At 11:00

Press conference on the occasion of the World Roma Women’s Day Festival

The Association EPEKA, a social enterprise, in cooperation with Umbrella-Dežnik, the Slovenian Roma Community Association, and Romani kafenava dobrota, a social enterprise – organised the World Romani Women’s Day Festival, with a rich cultural and musical programme and a lot of side events.

At 12 noon

World Roma Women’s Day main event with a performance

Esma Redzepova

Esma Redžepova-Teodosievska is a Macedonian-Romanian vocalist, composer and great humanitarian. She was born in 1943. She is known as the “Queen of Roma” for her distinctive and extensive repertoire of hundreds of songs and for her contribution to Roma culture and its visibility. She is also the cultural ambassador of the European Roma Capital title.

Gypsy Band Universal

A lively Roma band, Gypsy universal, from the small town of Kotel in Bulgaria, will entertain our guests for three days, from Friday to Sunday, in the first Roma restaurant in the EU – Romani kafenava – with a pleasant and varied Roma music. Their motto is “sleep is forbidden”. They will play a few songs during the celebrations.

Murat&Jose and DJ JAMirko

Murat&Jose are a Slovenian rap duo consisting of the eponymous performers, authors and songwriters, who are now considered one of the most successful and recognisable names in the Slovenian hip hop scene. Their lyrics are lyrical, meaningful and rich in vocabulary. They have a unifying mentality and look towards a better life. From people for people.

In 2009, Murat&Jose became official ambassadors of the Council of Europe and the Slovenian Office for Nationalities and participate in various campaigns organised by these institutions.

DJ JAMirko is a permanent fixture on the Slovenian music scene. The violinist, who has worked in the band Heavy Les Wanted, RDYO DJs and many other music groups, is synonymous with quality background music.

Maybe we’ll hear something completely new in Maribor on World Roma Day.

Drumming group DRUMBORCI from the Primary School of the Fighters for the Northern Border

The young primary school pupils are also active in the field of music under the guidance of their mentor Mateja Käfer.
The leader of the drum group is Semir Bejta.

Folklore group SONCE

The folklore group Sonce is led by choreographer Mr Đevad Abaz and operates under the auspices of the Anglunipe Roma Information Centre.

Special speaker: N’toko alias Miha Blažič

Miha started his musical career as the lead singer of the funky-jazz-rap collective Moveknowledgement, but also works as a solo artist. He has also been a recording artist and a freestyle musician.He has won the Slovenian national freestyle competition twice, in 2001 and 2003, when he shared the first place with rapper Trkaj and received an album recording on Nika Records as a prize. To date, he has released three solo albums in Slovenian, and two albums and three small records in English. He also writes the blog Ex Shanti Future Shanti and a fortnightly column in Mladina magazine.

The event was moderated by Roberta Mehmeti in Slovene and Roma poet, journalist and activist Zenel Bejta in Romani.

The event was followed by an afternoon of music and an evening with DJ Zeki and the Gypsy Band Universal.

Graffiti workshop Art Quarter /ART NEIGHBORYOUTH
8-9 April 2016
Maribor Market and Centrum Building, 2 Ulica slovenske osamosvojitve, Maribor
From 9 am to 7 pm

The Association EPEKA, a social enterprise, in cooperation with Gramofonoteka and NAVEZA, organised a graffiti workshop in the framework of the HIP-HOP conference, led by graffiti artists Maksim Azarkevič from Ljubljana and Igor Đipalo from the Higher School of Fine and Applied Arts in Belgrade.

They worked on several walls, such as the Maribor market, the EPEKA Gallery, Romana Kafenava and the CENTRUM building (former MTB).

The Art Quarter or ART NEIGHBORYOUTH is a youth art project that aims to beautify urban centres that are neglected or just plain grey. The theme of the beautification, or in our case graffiti, will be social. The art projects will be carried out with the participation of young people from the local community, in the framework of youth organisations such as the Association EPEKA, Soc. Ent., and with the support of youth workers. Young people will use their artistic potential to question social issues, especially social interaction between people who are culturally and nationally different.

Partners in the project are the University of Leuven-Limburg (coordinator), Billabasta Creative Youth Houses Association, KRUG Art Movement Bulgaria, European Confederation of Youth Clubs and the Association EPEKA, Soc. Ent.

The project is supported by the EU Erasmus+ KA2 programme, Strategic Partnerships.

Applications for the workshop were collected at epeka@epeka.si and gramofonoteka@gmail.com.

Rainbow Magic – workshop for children and young people
9 April 2016 from 10:00 to 12:00
Maribor Experiments Centre, Glavni trg 20

The Maribor Experiments Centre invited you to a creative workshop ‘Rainbow Magic’ suitable for children and adolescents, which took place on Saturday, 9 April 2016 between 10 am and 12 pm at the Maribor Experiments Centre, Glavni trg 20.

Intercultural Cuisine – a workshop on Roma, Syrian and Iraqi cuisine for children
Romani kafenava
9 April 2016 at 4 pm

Romani cuisine is rich, encompassing a variety of culinary traditions, from Indian and Oriental to Balkan and Mediterranean. Just as diversity enriches life, it also enriches food. This year, we have expanded the workshop so that the children learn a pinch of Syrian and Iraqi cuisine.

You are cordially invited and welcome.
Pre-registration is required at epeka@epeka.si.

Inner Voice – The Syrian Civil War through the eyes of a local
Lecture by Adib Abdulmajid
9 April at 6 p.m.
EPEKA Gallery, Koroška 8, Maribor

Adib Abdulmajid is a Syrian journalist with whom we delved into the background of the conflict in Syria, captured the real dimensions of the conflict, found out what it means for political elites and the international public, and proposed possible solutions to end this international conflict in the Middle East. Adib Abdulmajid will also share with us field insights on the biggest enemy of the Western media, the Islamic State.

Syrian journalist, researcher and analyst Adib Abdulmajid holds a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Damascus and a Master’s degree in Managing Cultural Diversity from the University of Tilburg. He is also the founder and director of ARA News, a news agency covering current events in war zones across the Middle East.

His favourite habit of peacefully smoking shisha in the bars of Damascus was interrupted shortly after graduating in his early twenties by the escalating political situation in Syria. He decided he had to do something about it. His activist nature is reflected in his actions, which the Syrian secret police considered inappropriate for the Syrian regime. His life’s journey therefore led him to the Netherlands, where he still lives. There he had the opportunity to deepen his understanding of the current war in his homeland, not only through educational approaches, but also by actively spreading the voices of his home nation, which in turn is reflected in the creation of an uncertain future for his homeland.

The public lecture was held as the closing event of a nine-day international youth exchange entitled “Today them, tomorrow maybe you”, a project which aimed to start an intercultural dialogue on local, regional, national and international refugee issues across Europe. It promoted a view of European citizenship as a common living and economic space for all citizens and residents of Europe, even if they do not reside in the European Union. Our partners from Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Macedonia, the Netherlands and Turkey joined us in Maribor from 2 to 10 April 2016.

You are cordially invited and welcome.

Dr. Andrej Studen: The maladjusted and the dangerous: the image and status of gypsies in the past – lecture
11 April 2016 at 6 pm
Romani kafenava

In European history, there is hardly a people who have been held in as much suspicion and contempt as the Gypsies. Next to these unfortunates, one can only place the Jews, who are guilty of everything. Apart from the romantic clichéd images of the Gypsies, which did not correspond to reality at all and were created only by the dreams and longings of bourgeois society for a free and unbound life (e.g. in Georges Bizet’s opera Carmen), the Gypsies were dominated by negative ideas, stereotypes and social prejudices.

Dictionaries, encyclopaedias and conversational lexicons published around the middle of the 19th century, for example, leave no doubt about this. Under the heading of gypsies, they refer to musical talents as well as to clerical scum, rogues, thieves and swindlers. And this mentality, as a ‘burden of the past’, has persisted stubbornly until today’s outbursts of anti-Gypsyism and the reinforcement of Romophobia, conflicts and confrontations, discrimination and stigmatisation on the basis of ethnicity. To this day, the sediments of the perception of the Roma way of life as unacceptable to society have remained, even though, in legal terms, the situation of the Roma has undoubtedly changed in recent decades.

Information at www.epeka.si / epeka@epeka.si / www.facebook.com/epeka.slovenia / www.romani-kafenava.si / www.facebook.com/romanikafenava

The festival is supported by: EU Erasmus+, EU Europe for Citizens, the Slovenian Youth Office, the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Maribor and Romani kafenava, a social enterprise.