Cite Internationale de Arts, Paris 2010.
Printing in clay technique workshop in Roma settlement in north suburb of Paris Bobigny 93
By relating the image and political and historical textual messages from postage stamps, Veljko Zejak in his work, Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite and Liberty for All, creates a relationship with the social context within which the work is created.
During his residential stay in Paris, Veljko Zejak held two workshops in which he demonstrated the technique of printmaking in clay. Following the workshop that took place within a small circle of artists, Veljko begins his collaboration with video artist Tiago Hacke and holds a workshop in a Roma settlement in the outskirts of Paris. Tiago is a Portuguese video artist who has filmed several documentaries and has worked with the people of this camp for a number of years. Work with the creative potential of this group is important. The expression that is derived from their social standing can provide answers to issues of social equality, freedom and racism in today’s society of Western Europe. The positions of participants of these workshops are specific and represent a realized creative potential formed from varying cultural and social circumstances.
Most Roma from this settlement originated from Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria. They live on the edge of existence and face problems of unemployment, insufficient education, crime and poverty. The idea that joined the work of these two artists was to educate a group of Roma from this settlement and enable them to creatively express themselves and produce souvenirs and prints independently through the workshops and presentations. The tools used to demonstrate the technique was a print negative with enlarged copies of postal stamps of the US and France. These negatives portrayed the Statue of Liberty and an image of Marianne (the maiden of the French people, the symbol of the French Revolution) with the inscribed slogans “Liberty for All” and Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.
This Roma settlement, Bobigny 93, has been completely dismantled and most Roma were evacuated during the action of evacuation of the immigrant and Roma populations from France in 2010-2011.