Roma youngsters explore life in Govanhill

The youngsters' photographs will go on display at Tramway.
The youngsters' photographs will go on display at Tramway.

Seven young Roma have explored their enviroment in Govanhill through the lens of their cameras.

Since November 2017 the young Roma have been learning both documentary photography to explore their environment, and studio portrait photography to create images of themselves and each other, at creative workshops run by photographer Robin Mitchell of the Glasgow-based social enterprise media co-op.

The Young Roma Photography project, PhotoMessage, is supported by Community Renewal in Govanhill and Friends of Romano Lav, funded by the People’s Health Trust and the New Economics Foundation.

Here, the young people share their thoughts on their neighbourhood:

“People get the wrong idea about Govanhill. There’s beauty here,” said Rahela Cirpaci, 20.

Nikola Baran, 15, said: “There are so many things you don’t look at, you would just step on them. I want to look at things more closely. Taking photographs makes you look closer.”

Isac Milosiu, 17, said:“I took a photograph of the place where I learned to play pool. It was where I first made friends with Scottish people. One of them gave me a pool cue.”

Karolina Olszewska, 14, said: “People are friendly in Govanhill in some ways, but not in other ways. School is a great place to make connections across social divides.”

Laura Balogova, 15, said: “I only know a few of my neighbours that I say hi to. Some of kids are so cute, so talkative. Others hide in their Mum’s coat and stuff and are really shy.

“There are other kids who come in and run up and down and play Knock Knock Ginger.”

David Milosiu, 18, said: “People do up their houses, but the rubbish in the street makes people think Govanhill is a dirty place. I want it to be nice place.

“I wish people would recycle more and not leave things in the street. I don’t know when I’ll ever be able to afford to rent my own house.”

Robin Mitchell, participatory photography tutor from media co-op, said: “This project has been enormous fun for me. While I’ve taught the young Roma technical and artistic skills about composition, light, and focus – I have learned from them about their lives and opinions, and seen their talents bloom”.

Miroslav Cuba from Friends of Romano Lav, added: “I’m so proud of the young people for the dedication and creativity they’ve demonstrated in this project.

“There can be prejudice against Roma people, so it’s important to hear their voices and to see Govanhill from their point of view.”

Suzanne Bell of Community Renewal,said: “We’re delighted that the creative work of local young Roma is being exhibited in Tramway. It’s a great showcase for local talent, and it just shows what community empowerment can do.”

An exhibition of their photographs runs until Sunday, March 11 at Tramway. Visit www.tramway.org for further details.