Posted: 19 October 2012

These beautiful photographs reflect young people's heritage, new home

Artist Marta Kotlarska has been working with our New Londoners programme, bringing Roma and new migrant children together to create their own photo exhibition, the Roundabout Arts Project. 

Please visit the exhibition at The Hub, 123 Star Lane, London, E16 4PZ (Google map). The exhibition is open from 9am-8pm through 8 November. You can also find a collection of photos on our Facebook page

Here, Kotlarska describes the ideas and motivation behind the show. 

young people and artists folding cardboard that will become pinhole cameras'Interactions that lead to deeper understanding'

People, their stories and who they are fascinate me. I have a constant hunger to gain an understanding ofthe diversity of people's lives. My work is often not the traditionally made piece of art but a result of the process of interactions that lead to deeper understanding. 

In 2004, I co-founded the Click Academy, an art group that uses pinhole photography as a way of creating social change. The following year I began working with Roma people in eastern Europe, visiting their communities and documenting them through photographs, as well as running a community project, Romani Click. 

How the Roundabout Project came about

The Roundabout Arts Project is the second time that I’ve worked with The Children’s Society. While interviewing Roma in Poland, I found many had relatives in London and I wanted to explore these links and see how their experiences differed. 

We decided to work with a mixed group of children. Some were Polish and others have Roma backgrounds but were born in Slovakia and Poland.

It is particularly interesting to see how they retain their identity regardless of which country they are in. How being from 'the outside' means somehow they become anonymous. 

young people holding Olympic ringsChildren's familiarity with their new home

Our hopes for the children to learn the realities of the creative process and have the opportunity to express their creativity were realised. Roma children often don’t have access to the arts because of discrimination and social exclusion and we wanted to change this. 

During the workshops in which the children made their pinhole cameras and props showing their favourite sport, it was exciting to see how new friendships emerged. 

It became clear how familiar the children feel with London and how much they want to contribute to their new home by giving beauty and fun to others.

By Marta Kotlarska, artist and co-founder of the Click Academy

three girls playing on a lawn

Read more

By Marta Kotlarska - Guest bloggers

Add comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.