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RomaRising: Photo Exhibition and Grand Opening of the CEU Nyitott Galéria

Thursday, December 7, 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

On behalf of the Central European University Romani Studies Program and the CEU Nyitott Galéria,
you are cordially invited to

A Photo Exhibition and Grand Opening of the CEU Nyitott Galéria

Chad Evans Wyatt
Portrait Photographer


7 December 2023
5:30 PM (CET)

Central European University
Nyitott Galéria/Open Gallery
1051 Budapest, Nádor utca 11-13



5:30 - 6:00 PM
Welcome and Gallery Opening by László Kontler, Pro-Rector for Budapest and KEE
Exhibition Opening by Angéla Kóczé, Chair of the CEU Romani Studies Program
Opening Remarks by Chad Evans Wyatt, Photographer and RomaRising Exhibition Creator 

6:00 - 6:30 PM
Reception and Viewing

6:30-7:00 PM
Discussion on the RomaRising Exhibition with Chad Evans Wyatt, Photographer



This exhibition will be available for public viewing from 8 December 2024 - 12 January 2024 during the following hours:

OPEN -- Dec 8 – Dec 20 12:00 – 18:00 on weekdays and Saturdays
CLOSED -- All Sundays and Dec 21 – Jan 2 
OPEN -- Jan 3 – Jan 12 12:00 – 18:00 on weekdays and Saturdays


About the exhibition:
Consider the visual grammar of the "Gypsy" photograph. Exoticism, and "otherness" separating these people from their majority context. In the words of Czech Professor Miroslav Vojtĕchovský, these images are a theatre of grotesque characters, irreconcilably different, without redemption. Garish colour can further isolation.

RomaRising offers respectful black and white images of dignity, countering stereotype. Many among these souls are highly educated, and have capacity to function as government ministers and lead within society. Indeed, Mr. Ciprian Necula became State Secretary in the Ministry of European Union Funds, representing the Romanian Government. He is not unique.

Mary Evelyn Porter, educator, researcher, and writer produced oral narratives starting in Bulgaria, some 200 in all. Finally the last piece fell in place: hearing each individual's formational story. These narratives obviate "the tendency to define people of colour, rather than allowing them to speak for themselves." (Alina Şerban, Actor, Romania)

Alas, some of the most prepared Roma we encountered are sequestered to the "Gypsy Bubble" of Romani Affairs. Others, unable to deploy hard-earned degrees, seek locales where they are appreciated, allowing a normal life. Witness the obvious sense of freedom on the visages of those within the Canada folio.

RomaRising became a record of feminine empowerment. Time and again we encounter women of strength and achievement stepping onto the stage, and with impact.

RomaRising also has become an international community: participants from 14 countries met one another at the RomArchive rollout in Berlin, some for the first time.

RomaRising/EU was possible. Enthusiastic endorsement within the Roma and Sinti community was lost on European underwriting institutions. With notable exception, RomaRising is self-funded, at considerable sacrifice.

Our hope is that majority societies will come to recognise the vast talent in these individuals of RomaRising. They are found treasure within their societies. Regardless of their chosen paths, one discovers them to be superlative embodiments of our common humanity.

A note about the narratives: they are transcribed, as told to us by each participant. They are not journalism. As with the portraits, they occurred at a point in time.

We would like to mention Asen Mitkov, of Bulgaria. When introduced to us by Viktoria Petrova, we knew immediately here was the capable colleague we had always sought: a knowledgeable collaborator, who effortlessly facilitated multiple situations, be it by his spoken Romanes, his equilibrium, his empathy. Asen is at the heart of the project's final decade.

-- Roma Rising project founders Chad Evans Wyatt and Mary Evelyn Porter
-- Find out more at


About the Photographer: 
Chad Evans Wyatt is a portrait photographer working in the Washington, DC area since 1976. Born of musician parents who worked in the pre-Civil Rights Era movement, and growing up in New York and Paris, his career began in the portrayal of people in the arts. He has photographed five US presidents, and innumerable public and private figures.

He came to Prague in 1993 in search of family long-silent behind the Iron Curtain. His 101: Artists in the Czech Republic project began immediately, and continued through 2000, when major exhibitions were mounted in Washington, and Prague.

RomaRising arose out of the 101. Its world-première occurred in Brno at the Muzeum Romské Kultury. This one-country project soon expanded to others. To date, there are portraits from nine countries; RomaRising has been shown in full or in part 60 times, in 13 countries, on 2 continents. The work continues.