Sunday, 28 November 2010
MARIA PAPADIMITRIOU, 'THE FABRIC OF LIFE' ROMA-GYPSY FASHION AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON
Maria Papadimitriou next to one of the Roma Coats
The Roma Coats exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts
Kyriakoula cutting the blankets to create the dresses in Aviliza, a Roma community in Athens
Kyriakoula modeling the Roma Coats
Sewing Together (The Roma Coat), 2010
The most impressive element in a shanty (or not shanty) gypsy house is the pile of colorful blankets which are always in the center of the room. This pile stands like a supple sculpture. The suppleness is reinforced by the fact that the gypsy blanket is the girls' dowry. This is what a mother gives her daughter and it is a symbol of the family continuity. During the day the sculpture stands motionless and at night it becomes the mattress on which they lie and the blanket that covers their bodies. It is an autonomous unit, a cell and a shell. These blankets are the first object they take with them when they leave. Whether rich or poor they insist on sleeping on them. This precious unit when transformed into a coat becomes the dwelling of the body. It changes identity from "extremely private" to "overtly public".
Maria Papadimitriou's 'Sewing Together (The Roma Coat)' at 'Aware: Art Fashion Identity' exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London. The concept for the exhibition was developed by the independent curator Gabi Scardi with artist Lucy Orta.