Pani Kekkavva (Kettle) Wagtail 2019, 160 cm x 59 cm x 0.5 cm by Cas Holmes

Gypsy Maker 4 Artwork Narration 

Pani Kekkavva (Kettle) Wagtail 2019, 160 cm x 59 cm x 0.5 cm by Cas Holmes

“The artworks in the Pani Kekkavva Triptych are the signature pieces of my Places, Spaces, Traces exhibition for the Gypsy Msker 4 project and reflect the idea of family through the image of the ‘kettle’ and the idea of the comfort of Tea. This work shows my Great-Grandparents and is symbolic of the last photographic evidence of my immediate family. The ancient ties to India are represented in the colours and the reclaimed sari materials used in the making of the artwork. The print method employs reclaimed materials such as oil paints retrieved from a bin. My father used oil paints in his signwriting which was his trade alongside decorating. Whilst living in a small house on the outskirts of Maidstone for much of my adult life I may, by any description, be perceived as a ‘settled’ member of my local community however my art practice and lifestyle choice contradicts this. I travel internationality in pursuit of my work and readily continue drawing, stitching and producing pieces as I travel, work and engage with others. I see what I do as being of the world and not as separate from it. Everything is collated and collected as I travel. My way of thinking and my approach to my work is constantly in motion and being challenged by the exchanges that I experience with people and places.” Cas Holmes 

Cas Holmes’ artwork Pani Kekkavva (Kettle) Wagtail brings to our attention some important issues relating to the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller experience. These include a focus on recycling and its increasingly important implications in conserving the world around us but perhaps more significantly the centrality of the idea of family within Gypsy, Roma and Traveller life. The central importance of the family within the Romani consciousness foregrounds a culture of group rather than individualistic emphasis—an idea of collectivism which is expressed by Romani groups through shared community responsibility. This accommodation of collective responsibility is apparent in the way that Romani elders are regarded within the community and the ways in which their perspective is valued in the management of communal and family affairs. Senior members of these communities are referred to as aunt and uncle regardless of any blood relation and the inclusion of their voice of experience contrasts the pervasive culture of youth which dominates the individualistic approach of many Western contemporary societies. This acknowledgement of the value of communal interest and endeavour is grounded in survival strategies (including strength in numbers) which are the legacy of a culture that has been continually required to fight for its existence. Gypsy, Roma and Traveller strategies of collectivism continue to be linked to the situation on the ground, developed as they are in reaction to current and historic experience of prejudice and discrimination. The implementation of said strategies means that despite continued attempts towards assimilation and / or eradication Gypsy, Roma and Traveller populations continue to grow. Dr Daniel Baker

Gypsy Maker is an innovative, ground-breaking concept devised, owned and developed by the Romani Cultural and Arts Company – the only Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Arts Development organisation in the United Kingdom. This 2020 project is supported by Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru | Arts Council of Wales and is commissioned by the Romani Cultural and Arts Company’

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