In Baraca Aleksandra Kubiak addresses the question of the Roma minority in Poland, focussing on the residents of a Roma camp in Wrocław. The film begins with a dry portrait of the life of Roma people in their camp, featuring no added commentary. The second part documents Kubiak’s artistic action at the Ethnographic Museum in Wrocław. The camera follows residents of the Roma camp raising a makeshift house made of any discarded materials they could come across. The film culminates with the ceremonial finish of Kubiak’s project, during which museum-goers from Wrocław were invited to visit the structure built by the Roma people and meet representatives of their community.
Transmitted from generation to generation, the traditions of building cheap makeshift architecture, known as baraca, served here as a reference point to start a debate about the co-existence of Polish and Roma communities. Raised in the museum, the structure offered the residents of Wrocław a chance of a personal encounter with Roma culture. Baraca also addresses the cultural differences between Poles and the nomadic Roma people. While residential spaces of this kind form part of everyday life of people in the camp, the museum visitors could easily consider baraca as something exotic or recognise it as an art installation. Kubiak’s project opened up a temporary dialogue between the Polish and Roma communities; at the same time, the action served as a reminder of the ongoing conflict with Roma immigrants.
© Aleksandra Kubiak
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