Some positive news on Gypsy Communities please…

 

Photo: Children's artwork at Dale Farm“We love Dale Farm, this is our home.” – John O’Conner (age 7)

Children who are facing eviction from their home, Dale Farm in Essex, have participated in a community arts project painting 3 metre-high murals depicting the site and the people who live there.

The murals will be installed at the main entrance to the site on Saturday 19th February. All are welcome to view the opening event.

The circumstances of marginalized groups within the UK – Romany Gypsies and Irish Travelers – have received plenty of attention recently with much of the coverage of Channel 4s ‘My Big fat Gypsy Wedding’ – more worrying for its casual bigotry than the ill-conceived documentary itself. Meanwhile at Dale Farm UK’s largest Gypsy and Traveler site, and the home of over 1,000 people, accepted racist attitudes towards minority groups appears to be coming to its most miserable conclusion – one of the biggest evictions in British history.

Romany Gypsies and Travellers have lived at Dale Farm legally since the 1960s, more families joining them over the years as councils shut down public sites and Travellers were forced to look for permanent places to settle. However, although half the site has been granted planning permission to build and live on the land, the other half is protected greenbelt and the local council has placed an eviction order for 90 families to be removed and their homes demolished – an action which has been appealed in the high court on the basis that it is racially motivated. The mural project organised by three London based artists, has helped develop vital literacy skills amongst the children.

The group of emerging artists and photographers from Camden Town, Eloise Taylor, Quintina Valero and Darren Zlatareff, have been running workshops for the children since October 2010.

‘We wanted to do this mural with the children to highlight that this is a positive place, a safe place where children live, play and go to school. They are a vulnerable group of children whose literacy levels are below the national average. What they need is support from the local authorities to their human right to education. Not the instability we have seen caused by the councils eviction notice – the fear they will be taken out of school and moved on.’

– Eloise Taylor, project coordinator

For more information about the Save Dale Farm Campaign email: dale.farm@btinternet.com
For more information on the project, including high-res images of the murals please contact Eloise Taylor: e: tayloreloise@hotmail.com m: 07873169158.

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