Graduation 2013: Film-maker helps put gypsy children at 'dire' housing complex in the spotlight
Faculty of Arts, Design and Technology
A University of Derby graduate film-maker is training Roma gypsy children to photograph their difficult lives in a mass housing complex in Slovakia.
Artur Conka, 22, who graduates with a BA (Hons) Photography degree, made a short film about Roma and gypsy people living in the vast, crumbling Lunik IX housing complex in Kosice, Slovakia, for his final degree show. It can be seen on YouTube (at www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUFUkVivh_M) and has been screened at film festivals.
A former Lunik IX resident himself – Artur lived there until he was three, when his parents left Slovakia – his film perfectly captures the crumbling tower blocks surrounded by rubbish, and limited running water and power supplies. Communities are mainly settled there by the Slovakian government.
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Now Artur has launched a project to raise international awareness of the Lunik IX conditions and teach the young people living there valuable photographic skills.
It will work in conjunction with a similar project, called Life Through A Lens, founded by fellow film-maker Julia Johnson, to help gypsy youths in England. Artur said: "I have returned to the Lunik IX complex a number of times, not least because I still have family living there, and am always struck by the dire conditions that people live with. My colleague, Julia, and I have launched a collaborative project to help young people at Lunik IX.
"We will teach them to take photographs, while I continue filming their daily lives, with all our work then being shown at a London exhibition planned for later this year, to create interest in and financial support for the children of Lunik IX."
To find out more about the Lunik IX and Life Through A Lens initiatives, visit the website www.sponsume.com/ project/my-gypsy-culture.
To make a donation, go to www.jcjphotographer.com/page9.htm.