Orchard Park

2005-2008

Shared Vision - Making the Visible Invisible

 

MESSAGES FROM ARBURY

 

I presented to the developer many concepts ideas for permanent and temporary pieces of work to be installed on site. All except one proposal was accepted. The piece of work, which has not gone forward, was based on my research into the travellers group living close to the site.

 

The temporary piece of work was based on the idea of an LED projection using Romani words. Romanes is a Sanskrit language and is thought to have its roots in northern India, from where it is believed Gypsies originated over a thousand years ago. Gypsies retained and practised their unique language as a means of maintaining their ethnic identity and traditions, and also to act as a bond between members of a nation living constantly on the edge.

 

I felt the illuminated romani text would be an ideal opportunity to celebrate the uniqueness of this community and special traditions living in such close proximity to the new development.

 

Unfortunately the proposal was declined. Lots of technical reasons were given but the subtext was that drawing attention to the travellers would have an adverse effect of property sales.

 

The fact is that Gypsies are subject to the last form of “acceptable racism”. From media headlines to insurance policies, it is still okay to openly discriminate against us in ways that would never be tolerated by any other ethnic group…We are an invisible minority that is totally absent from the census. Bt twice a year the government doesn’t count us, but our caravans. Britain’s eldest ethnic minority is its most abused, but also its most silent.

 

Jake Bowers, Gypsy Journalist