NEU NOW 2009 Vilnius
Title of work: Gypsies - Beautiful People
Institution: Academy of Fine Arts and Design Bratislava, Slovakia
Šymon Kliman is Photographer based in Bratislava, his work is focused on creating mutual understanding between different social groups, expanding awareness of their specific living conditions and exposed via installations in public space. Its main artistic medium is a portrait photographer that escape its standard form and context.
"I started to photograph the Roma people because it bothers me that their image in our society is based on a set of clichés. Typically, the gipsy way of life is shown as something exotic. This appears to be the only thing valued about them. I have tried to look beyond this one-dimensional view. I wanted to help a larger audience to identify with these people. To me, the Roma are a beautiful and proud people whose cultural identity has been destroyed by the communist regime. They lost a big part of their identity, language, independence and cultural background. In the fifties, the regime authorities killed their horses, forbade them to migrate and tried to assimilate them by suppressing their crafts and culture.
Photography is the way in which I express my ideas. With any project, the idea is more important than the chosen form. I do not stick to a specific photographic style; all my projects look different. I always try to learn more, new techniques. But sometimes, as happened with Gypsies – Beautiful People, I am convinced it is useless to try something new photographically. This is why I decided to make classical portraits. I believed it was the best way to honour the people I was photographing."