'Songs of the Roma' is a book of poems, composed by the Polish Romani poet Papusza, which I illustrated and designed as part of the first classroom project during my course at NID.
The project began with my interest, as a lay person, in the lives of the Romani people of Europe, whose unique but often tragic experiences have shaped their collective identity over the years. With ancestry and traditions that can be traced back to various nomadic tribes in India, the Roma are today caught between their 'Gypsy' past and the many challenging ways forward, and still face daily persecution and struggles.
During the initial research and exploration phase, I came across the poems of the great poet Bronislawa Wajs, more widely known as 'Papusza.' Her voice seemed to be the perfect representation of the Roma, and the simple yet heartfelt songs capture the spirit of her people with clarity and honesty.
Experimenting with the illustrations, I used images from old magazines to create abstract cut-and-paste paper collages that complement the words of each poem.
The final book contains five poems composed by Papusza, along with a cover/jacket that folds out into a mini poster, with more information about the Romani people.
The cover/jacket of the book folds out into a mini poster containing more information about the Roma people.
Details from the poster.
Acknowledgements: Professor Immanuel Suresh (Project Guide), Boopathy Srinivasan, K Harish Singh, Shreya Chakravarty, Akshan Ish, Jaimeen Desai, Raakesh Natraj, Manasi Kajabaje, Vidhi Agarwal, Lovepreet Kaur, and a huge thanks to all my classmates and my family for the encouragement and support.
Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, a book by Isabel Fonseca
Latcho Drom, Gadjo Dilo, and Korkoro, movies by Tony Gatlif
Rombase, The University of Graz database and factsheet on the Roma
Credits for the fonts used in the project: Juan Pablo del Peral, Kimberly Geswein & LatinoType
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