Be-Longing: Travellers Stories, Traveller’s Lives

Eva Sajovic

4 February 2010 to 20 March 2010

An Exhibition of Photographs by Eva Sajovic

2009 witnessed a pogrom against the Roma community in Northern Ireland, and the rise of parties in European elections campaigning on anti-Roma manifestos. Traveller communities are the largest ethnic minority group in Europe numbering over 12 million people. For centuries travellers have suffered extreme levels of prejudice and rejection and for some it has been necessary to hide their identity to survive. Eva Sajovic’s exhibition Be – Longing, photographs of people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities a small part of the necessary reaction.

Eva’s intimate photographs of traveller communities from the UK and Slovenia are mesmerising. Her sensitive portraits of individuals and family groups, in their home environments and in life affirming situations, show the current situations and concerns of her subjects. She displays her images accompanied by written accounts or recorded testimonies which give her subjects a voice, giving the viewer a feeling of their presence. You get an idea of what life is like for these people, the importance of family, their relationships and connections to one another, their strong sense of pride and feelings of loyalty to their community and cultural identity, also the very real experience of suffering prejudice and being consider outsiders in the countries they live in. Eva connects with her subjects and collaborates with them to create images that are honest. She respects and values the relationship she has with her subjects and through this acceptance we experience the very intimate relationship Eva has with them.

Eva has been working with traveller communities for the last two years her most recent project being Pavee Widen (Travellers Talking) a book of photographs and texts made in collaboration with Roma, Irish Travellers and English Gypsies in the London Borough of Southwark and STAG (Southwark Travellers Action Group). With Be-Longing Eva hopes to promote an understanding of traveler communities and counter the unspoken prejudices about such people. She takes her experiences working with these communities further by not only presenting her work but also by inviting dialogue and debate through making public some of the conversations she has been having with the people she has photographed and the people who have supported her research, through workshops, screenings and seminars during the presentation of her work at 198.

Eva Sajovic is a Slovenian photographer who lives and works in London. In 2007 she won a merit in the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum’s Photographic Awards, and a D&AD award for photography; and has exhibited her work extensively, both in the UK and abroad.