Gypsyland exhibition opens at Bolton Museum

The Bolton News: Delanie Le Bas with her exhibition Delanie Le Bas with her exhibition

VISITORS to Bolton Museum can travel into the unknown world of Gypsyland in a new fascinating, poignant and celebratory exhibition.

To Gypsyland, a touring exhibition by English Romani artist, Delanie Le Bas, is designed to take its audience on a journey to explore the history, culture and traditions of a people.

It also hopes to challenge the perceptions society has of these groups, which are often demonised.

The exhibition also serves as a haunting reminder of how the communities, which today still live on the fringes of society, are connected to Bolton.

For Delanie the thought provoking exhibition, which has been four years in the making, is not the end but the beginning of a conversation about this little talked about community.

She said: “This is a view from the inside out and not from the outside in.”

Pieces in the exhibition — co-curated by artist Barby Asante and commissioned for 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning and supported by the Arts Council and National Lottery — include photographs, archive material from the museums and Delaine’s personal collection.

Featured in the display is a film connecting the exhibition with Bolton Whitmanites, in which they are seen to mark the birthday of poet and journalist Walt Whitman, described as a “friend of the Gypsies”.

There is a disturbing reminder of Bolton’s connection with the slave trade in To Gypsyland.

Many Gypsies were transported to the USA and the Caribbean as slaves and many were slaves within central Europe well into the mid 1850s.

Delanie, aged 48, originally from Worthing, said: “It has been emotional and I am learning all the time, I found out more about the slave trade for this exhibition.

“I would like to say thanks to Bolton Whitmanities and Bolton Museum who have been so helpful.

“We want this exhibition to be accessible to people who come to it from different points, whatever those points are we want it to start a conversation.”

After touring the exhibition will return to London featuring highlights of the all places it has been exhibited.

People can become part of the artistic project by writing their experiences at togypsyland.blogspot.co.uk.

The exhibition is on until June 15.

Comments (5)

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2:55pm Wed 29 Jan 14

JShepard says...

I was actually considering visiting the exhibition and then I read this extract from the blog.

"Opposition to Gypsies is racist. Planning issues are a major problem and the planning law has many issues dealing with Gypsies. Proper site provision has never been provided and when people try and make provision for themselves it is always a problem. but there are other dead rooted prejudices that make opposition to Gypsies an ongoing problem."

I would like to share my life experience and interactions I have had with Gypsies. As a teenager a friend was robbed at knife point by a gypsies for his trainers. As I grew up I saw fields that were previously used by children as playing areas had been ripped up and used as camping grounds. When they eventually left they also left behind garbage to be cleaned up by the council or the local residents.

Finally I have a wide circle of friends, some of which are Romanian and they told me in no uncertain terms "Gypsies are a blight on our society. My country is only known for Gypsies and the stereotypical attitudes towards me because of this infuriates me."

If Gypsies would like the rest of society, Romanians included to stop treating them in a racist manner. Maybe they should consider that they are in fact the problem and they should stop treating the rest of society with disdain.

This exhibition had the potential to be a positive influence. Instead it's quite clear that the only intention is to play the victim card.
I was actually considering visiting the exhibition and then I read this extract from the blog. "Opposition to Gypsies is racist. Planning issues are a major problem and the planning law has many issues dealing with Gypsies. Proper site provision has never been provided and when people try and make provision for themselves it is always a problem. but there are other dead rooted prejudices that make opposition to Gypsies an ongoing problem." I would like to share my life experience and interactions I have had with Gypsies. As a teenager a friend was robbed at knife point by a gypsies for his trainers. As I grew up I saw fields that were previously used by children as playing areas had been ripped up and used as camping grounds. When they eventually left they also left behind garbage to be cleaned up by the council or the local residents. Finally I have a wide circle of friends, some of which are Romanian and they told me in no uncertain terms "Gypsies are a blight on our society. My country is only known for Gypsies and the stereotypical attitudes towards me because of this infuriates me." If Gypsies would like the rest of society, Romanians included to stop treating them in a racist manner. Maybe they should consider that they are in fact the problem and they should stop treating the rest of society with disdain. This exhibition had the potential to be a positive influence. Instead it's quite clear that the only intention is to play the victim card. JShepard
  • Score: 16

7:13pm Wed 29 Jan 14

keithyno.1 says...

Well I've no doubt this "fascinating, poignant and celebratory exhibition" will present a rosy, romantic picture of Romany gypsies touring the country in their horse-drawn vardo earning a living knocking on doors selling pegs and dusters and lucky white heather, and congregating at Appleby every year for their horse fair. But we all know the reality is.....

I'm not being racist towards these people, but let's face it - who wants 'em to come and set up shop next door to where they live? Short answer: NOBODY!!!

I for one will be happily giving this exhibition a miss...I really have better things to do with my time, like going out to do a days' work.
Well I've no doubt this "fascinating, poignant and celebratory exhibition" will present a rosy, romantic picture of Romany gypsies touring the country in their horse-drawn vardo earning a living knocking on doors selling pegs and dusters and lucky white heather, and congregating at Appleby every year for their horse fair. But we all know the reality is..... I'm not being racist towards these people, but let's face it - who wants 'em to come and set up shop next door to where they live? Short answer: NOBODY!!! I for one will be happily giving this exhibition a miss...I really have better things to do with my time, like going out to do a days' work. keithyno.1
  • Score: 9

8:15pm Wed 29 Jan 14

Citizen Cane says...

I am concerned that the exhibition appears to exclude the Traveller community which is distinct from the Romany gypsy community and wonder whether this exclusion represents a form of racism? If it was included, then Delanie could have examined the issue of bang up to date slavery in the traveller community.

On this basis Bolton Council should withdraw the exhibition because it is offensive to those who oppose the perpetrators of slavery.
I am concerned that the exhibition appears to exclude the Traveller community which is distinct from the Romany gypsy community and wonder whether this exclusion represents a form of racism? If it was included, then Delanie could have examined the issue of bang up to date slavery in the traveller community. On this basis Bolton Council should withdraw the exhibition because it is offensive to those who oppose the perpetrators of slavery. Citizen Cane
  • Score: 6

10:43am Thu 30 Jan 14

Reed Lover says...

JShepard wrote:
I was actually considering visiting the exhibition and then I read this extract from the blog.

"Opposition to Gypsies is racist. Planning issues are a major problem and the planning law has many issues dealing with Gypsies. Proper site provision has never been provided and when people try and make provision for themselves it is always a problem. but there are other dead rooted prejudices that make opposition to Gypsies an ongoing problem."

I would like to share my life experience and interactions I have had with Gypsies. As a teenager a friend was robbed at knife point by a gypsies for his trainers. As I grew up I saw fields that were previously used by children as playing areas had been ripped up and used as camping grounds. When they eventually left they also left behind garbage to be cleaned up by the council or the local residents.

Finally I have a wide circle of friends, some of which are Romanian and they told me in no uncertain terms "Gypsies are a blight on our society. My country is only known for Gypsies and the stereotypical attitudes towards me because of this infuriates me."

If Gypsies would like the rest of society, Romanians included to stop treating them in a racist manner. Maybe they should consider that they are in fact the problem and they should stop treating the rest of society with disdain.

This exhibition had the potential to be a positive influence. Instead it's quite clear that the only intention is to play the victim card.
My brother was once mugged by a group of English lads. Now I no longer trust those dangerous whities.
Obvious generalisation is obvious.
[quote][p][bold]JShepard[/bold] wrote: I was actually considering visiting the exhibition and then I read this extract from the blog. "Opposition to Gypsies is racist. Planning issues are a major problem and the planning law has many issues dealing with Gypsies. Proper site provision has never been provided and when people try and make provision for themselves it is always a problem. but there are other dead rooted prejudices that make opposition to Gypsies an ongoing problem." I would like to share my life experience and interactions I have had with Gypsies. As a teenager a friend was robbed at knife point by a gypsies for his trainers. As I grew up I saw fields that were previously used by children as playing areas had been ripped up and used as camping grounds. When they eventually left they also left behind garbage to be cleaned up by the council or the local residents. Finally I have a wide circle of friends, some of which are Romanian and they told me in no uncertain terms "Gypsies are a blight on our society. My country is only known for Gypsies and the stereotypical attitudes towards me because of this infuriates me." If Gypsies would like the rest of society, Romanians included to stop treating them in a racist manner. Maybe they should consider that they are in fact the problem and they should stop treating the rest of society with disdain. This exhibition had the potential to be a positive influence. Instead it's quite clear that the only intention is to play the victim card.[/p][/quote]My brother was once mugged by a group of English lads. Now I no longer trust those dangerous whities. Obvious generalisation is obvious. Reed Lover
  • Score: 1

10:46am Thu 30 Jan 14

Reed Lover says...

Citizen Cane wrote:
I am concerned that the exhibition appears to exclude the Traveller community which is distinct from the Romany gypsy community and wonder whether this exclusion represents a form of racism? If it was included, then Delanie could have examined the issue of bang up to date slavery in the traveller community.

On this basis Bolton Council should withdraw the exhibition because it is offensive to those who oppose the perpetrators of slavery.
Eh?
Next time a local pub holds a German Beerkeller festival shall we chide it for keeping out references to that famous Austrian Nazi?
[quote][p][bold]Citizen Cane[/bold] wrote: I am concerned that the exhibition appears to exclude the Traveller community which is distinct from the Romany gypsy community and wonder whether this exclusion represents a form of racism? If it was included, then Delanie could have examined the issue of bang up to date slavery in the traveller community. On this basis Bolton Council should withdraw the exhibition because it is offensive to those who oppose the perpetrators of slavery.[/p][/quote]Eh? Next time a local pub holds a German Beerkeller festival shall we chide it for keeping out references to that famous Austrian Nazi? Reed Lover
  • Score: 2

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