Foundation Stones virtual workshop to commemorate the Roma and Sinti victims of Nazi persecution.
Building on the nation-wide partnership with Nisa-Nashim, Big Ideas and the UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation collaborated with Kushti-Bok, The Bournemouth and Poole Holocaust Memorial Day Committee, and Nisa-Nashim Wessex to run a virtual Foundation Stones painting workshop.
Kushti-Bok is a Bournemouth-based charity which is dedicated to spreading awareness about race equality for Gypsy, Roma and Traveler communities. Nisa-Nashim brings the Jewish and Muslim communities in Britain closer together by connecting groups of women to address antisemitism, Islamophobia, and women’s role in society. These groups came together on Zoom on 22 October 2020 to commemorate the Roma and Sinti victims of Nazi persecution.
The event was opened by Lynda Ford-Horne from the Poole Holocaust Memorial Day Committee, and Nisa-Nashim Wessex. Then, Betty Smith-Billington spoke about Kushti Bok’s fantastic work and about Holocaust survivor, member of the French resistance, and human rights activist, Raymond Gureme. Big Ideas was delighted to also welcome Issac Blake from the Romani Cultural & Arts Company, who previously partnered with Big Ideas during the launch of the Foundation Stones project in Wales, as a guest speaker at the event. Below are some of the stones painted at that launch in Cardiff, Newport, and Torfaen in January 2020.
At this virtual event, the stone painting session was accompanied by music from violinist Matt Tarling. Participants heard two pieces, in three parts: Djelem Djelem, followed by Gankino Horo (a Bulgarian celebratory wedding dance piece), and finishing with a musical breakdown of Djelem Djelem. When asked about how he would describe this music, Matt told the Big Ideas team:
“I rather like to think of the piece as akin to a life journey, with all of its mysteries, trials, tribulations, love, sadness and strengths coming through to the listener”.
Big Ideas would like to thank Matt for letting us share his music as part of our workshop.
Participants painted Foundation Stones during the session, inspired by the speakers and the music that was heard. One participant shared their stone, saying:
This stone, along with the others created in this workshop, will become part of the new Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre in London. The Learning Centre will look at the British response to the Holocaust as well as the subsequent genocides in Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia and Darfur.