The Riverfront, Newport, Wales, United Kingdom
An Arts Council of Wales funded project gets the green light
The Romani Cultural & Arts Company is proud to announce two new exhibitions featuring the work of artists Artur Conka and Billy Kerry. This exciting installation of specially commissioned artworks is the latest in our groundbreaking Gypsy Maker project—an initiative that supports the development of innovative works by established and emerging Gypsy, Roma and Traveller artists. The Gypsy Maker project expands the work of the RCAC by continuing to engage GRT communities and the wider public in ongoing dialogue about the ways in which art continues to inform the lives of individuals and communities today.
Billy Kerry was trained at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London, where he achieved a First class Honours Degree in Fine Art. Since graduating in 2009 he has been inspiring others by teaching and supporting at Cambridge Regional College. Kerry’s eclectic practice narrates the close interrelation between artist and material—between body and object. His new exhibition of sculptural and collaged artworks investigates and challenges preconceived views of ethnicity, gender roles and constructed conformity. These works employ diverse conceptual elements and aesthetic motifs ranging from Victoriana to current Pop Culture in clashes which challenge established values to allow new insight into the way we live today.
It’s been fantastic having the opportunity to work with The Romani Cultural and Arts Company. The RCAC has supported and guided me at the same time as allowing me to be very free with my work. As an artist and educator I am overjoyed to be asked to hold workshops with schools as I see creative education as important in creating richer individuals from all walks of life.’ Billy Kerry
Artur Conka is a photography graduate from the University of Derby. One of the few Roma to have documented his community from behind the lens Conka’s photography and film making focus on the plight of the Roma, Gypsies and Travellers in Europe. Originally from one of the poorest Roma communities in Slovakia, Conka returned years later to record how life had changed for its inhabitants during its decline. The result was his first documentary film ‘Lunik IX’. Conka’s work has appeared in various international publications including Huffington Post, The Independent and Vice Magazine and we look forward to presenting his original and innovative approach to filmmaking and photography in this new exhibition.
’Working with the Romani Cultural Arts Company has been a relationship to cherish. The RCAC gives a platform that so few do not, especially to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller groups. Its approach to tirelessly establishing ground breaking understanding about GRT communities has helped change people’s lives.’ Artur Conka
'It is good to see another Newport exhibition by leading Roma artists. It is very important that we give local people the opportunity to appreciate the culture and lives of our minority and Gypsy/Roma/Traveller communities. This helps break down stereotypes and overcome lack of knowledge and understanding. John Griffiths AM
'Gypsy Maker 2 is, for The Riverfront, and for Newport Live, a natural follow on to the progressive and creative work generated through the original Gypsy Maker project. We are excited at the prospect in engaging further with our local and regional audiences as well as showcasing the innovative work of both Artur Conka and Billy Kerry.' Susannah Stonehouse, Riverfront Theatre & Arts Centre
Images: Fur-coat © Billy Kerry 2016