DO NOT SPIT IN MY FACE is a project about the struggle that I have waged for many years and still wage. A struggle for love and recognition. A fight that I have to fight with myself and with others. It’s about a part of my personality that I’ve been hiding for a long time and which I still hide far too often: my identity as a homosexual man.
The story of a coming-out may not sound so exciting in Berlin today. For many, however, it is a struggle for inner and outer freedom. And it is even more so when the environment is shaped by traditional values and ideas. This is not just about my personal history, but also about the question of the possibility of personal freedom and self-fulfillment in my Bosnian society of origin and especially within the Roma community.
I want to talk about the experience of belonging to a minority in several ways and fighting for recognition from the majority.
DO NOT SPIT IN MY FACE will not only reflect my discussion, but also invite others to share their story. It calls for strength and courage, to stand by yourself and not to avoid the eyes of others.
DO NOT SPIT IN MY FACE will be presented as an online exhibition on this website containing texts, video interviews and a series of portraits. It begins with my family history and stages in my life from my childhood in war to the experiences of the corona lockdown in Berlin. It thus includes a background narrative, the discussion with others in interviews and finally the artistic expression of the experiences in painting. It continues through the addition of others’ experiences, their narration and my artistic interpretation of these stories.
DO NOT SPIT IN MY FACE starts from the experiences that I have had during the lockdown due to Covid19. I want to talk about how on the one hand we are thrown back on ourselves and how we deal with ourselves. The essential question about our existence, what defines us. On the other hand, the view of us that comes from outside and that we cannot just escape in lockdown. We are forced to face this look. I want to encourage all of us to ask ourselves and others’ questions.
For this we need honesty with ourselves and others and to respect ourselves and our next.
Cohesion and peace in society do not just need tolerance,
but true understanding and respect for ourselves and the next.
With the words of Lucie Fremlova:
The lived experiences and images of lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) Roma remain invisible to many people, Roma and non-Roma alike. Simultaneously, LGBTIQ Roma are the subject of a plethora of anti-Romani, homo/transphobic and other stereotypes.
DO NOT SPIT IN MY FACE wants to “visualize the life of LGBTIQ Roma” by showcasing Stories and Video-Interviews about LGBTIQ Roma and artistic interpretation by portraits.
I want to share my experiences and help others to find their own path to free development and see themselves positively and be a positive example of their surroundings. Only when others perceive us as a personality can we overcome stereotypical thinking. I want my story and that of others, as well as the artistic representation to form the basis or become part of other projects, workshops and in educational institutions.
We must face discrimination in society, as in smaller communities, courageously with our personality.
Art helps us to gain a better understanding of ourselves and to change the way others look at us.
DO NOT SPIT IN MY FACE aims to encourage those who are insecure on the way to self-acceptance and dealing with their sexual identity in public. I want to give an encouraging example and reduce anxiety. The project should also help families to accept their family members as they are.
After all, it is about the visibility of LGBTIQ in society in general, but in the Roma community in particular. Roma who have fought their struggle can be a strong pillar of the LGBTIQ movement and at the same time contribute to the visibility of Roma in the majority society.
This project is developed with the support of the
European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC).
Be part of the project!
Are you ready to tell your story? It doesn’t have to be all public right away. Write to me and let’s talk. The most important thing to me is the artistic implementation of what you tell. You decide how your story becomes part of the exhibition beyond my painting. Whether we add a written story or whether you want to speak in the video yourself.
I am sure there is a lot worth telling. Text me!