The history of our peoples is not written by us, or found in the annals of our history books. We have been excluded and written out; our history, ethnicity, citizenship and our experience of pogroms and the Holocaust denied. But we remember, we defy the given narratives, resist the rewriting of our history and hold tightly to our own, passed on through an oral tradition by our elders, our story tellers, our memory keepers and increasingly our academics.
We remember, and within that remembering is our resilience.
Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month (GRTHM) runs every year for the month of June in the UK. It is a national initiative, endorsed and funded by the government for its first three years from 2008 to 2011, and was Romani led in partnership with the Department of Education.
From the outset Gypsy, Roma and Traveller participation in its planning saw our community coming together to organise an array of history, heritage, arts and culture events. At every stage of every event our communities involvement and voice was central. Old alliances were strengthened and new ones forged through cooperation; our narratives reclaimed, renewed and retold. Our academics and historians from across the globe gathered in London to share their findings about our history and our heritage; we learnt a lot about our rich cultures and ethnicities, our diaspora, our strengths and our contributions to the fabric of British life. In turn we educated others in the wider population about us – their neighbours and fellow citizens. We acknowledged and celebrated our belonging, our endurance and our resistance. We remembered.
As National coordinator for GRTHM I travelled widely attending events specific to the month and those embedded in traditional annual gatherings such as Stowe, Appleby, Watton, Horsmonden and the pilgrimage of Saint Sara-La-Kali in the Camargue.
I always took my camera with me and the photos that follow are what I saw; pride, family and the power of community.
This exhibition is dedicated to my brother Christopher Knight.
A kushti mush, a proud Rom.
Both lover and fighter.
Due to the layout of the exhibition it is best viewed on a laptop. All photos were taken with permission. Some of those known for their contributions to The Gypsy Roma Traveller History Month are named in the album “With Thanks“.
If you wish to use the photos commercially please contact Talking Romani. If you or someone you know is featured in the exhibition and you want to reclaim your image, right click to download the photo. For all social media use please credit the photographer Patricia Knight /Talking Romani.
This exhibition archive was created with the support of The European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture (ERIAC) and the Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative, and was curated by Patricia and Riah Knight.
“…what we are is what our ancestors did.
How they survived.
We are the memories we don’t remember, which live in us, which we feel, which make us sing and dance and pray the way we do, feelings from memories that flare and bloom unexpectedly in our lives like blood through a blanket from a wound made by a bullet fired by a man shooting us in the back… for our heads, for a bounty, or just to get rid of us.”There There, Tommy Orange
Below you can find some examples of the GRTHM magazine, featuring some of the photographs from The Resistance of Remembering Archive. The magazine listed the events being held around the country as well as featuring articles and news.