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.