Slovene Ethnographic Museum (Administration building), 8 - 22 April 2014
Slovenski etnografski muzej
Copy confirms the original
Every so often, we ask ourselves questions like who are we, where are we from, what would we like to be, what do we want to do, what do we want to have, as well as many other important life questions. Are we in fact a COPY, or are we a unique ORIGINAL?
The answers to these questions and other similar ones are both simple and complex, sometimes even too complex and many-layered, depending on personal commitment, the cumulative efforts of an individual as well as of both the narrow and wider social community, family, nation or national community, country and international community. However they all come together in a person, a Human who is proudly aware of their identity and their innate right to dignity and freedom.
In life, on the life path of every person, their influences they have, be that they are good or bad, intertwines their past, present and future. As within us, the characteristics of our genetic secrets and effects of society, culture and our natural environment mix together, we as people share similarities – presumably a COPY, but at the time, due to these very characteristics and influences, we are unique – an ORIGINAL. What our response will be to this interweaving, which is marked by circumstances which we can not significantly influence, is primarily dependent on the person themselves, their sincere effort, determination and constant perseverance, whose fruits of labour are significantly dependent on – you reap what you sow. The Slovenian poet Tone Pavček captured all these tendencies very vividly in his poem Traveller, “When you walk, always walk until you reach your destination. (...) If you don’t make it the first, nor second time to your final destination, try time after time, again and again.”
In 1948, the United Nations Organisation adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights following the horrors of the past and the realisations of the present, as well as for a brighter future. It is regarded as the alma mater of philanthropic endeavours, the honouring of human rights, fundamental freedoms and non-transferable responsibilities of each entity in human society, enshrined in numerous international instruments, as well as in constitutions and laws. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights it is written that ‘everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status’. Furthermore it states that ‘no distinction shall be made’, nor any unequal treatment or any type of form of discrimination take place, ‘on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs’.
Every person has a duty towards their community, in which they alone can be free, and the right to the complete development of their personality. When exercising their rights and freedoms, everyone is subject only to such limitations as are determined by law, whose sole purpose is to secure due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
No form, extent and type of power, and no theory of superiority, nor any social crisis, with which we and the world today are faced, cannot and must not be an excuse, reason and cause for any belittling of each other, for the neglect of a culture which respects human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the abandonment of the responsibilities of mutual respect for the dignity and freedom. In the words of a Chinese proverb, this situation can be put into one sentence: You don’t have to dim the light of another, to make yours shine brighter!
With the exhibition of socially engaged documentary photography Copy Conforms to the Original by Jaka Gasar, Haris Tahirović, and the young researchers of various nationalities, we want to show moments from people’s everyday life where in reality, there is not such a great divide between the life and culture of the Romani and other nations/nationalities as people may believe at first glance. People of various nationalities and cultures all around the world face similar trials and tribulations. We have similar needs, even though they may manifest outwardly in a different way. In each and every one of us there is something of a dark-skinned person, there are traditions of different religions and cultures – Romani, Balkan, Asian ... Everyone can at some point find themselves in the bright sunshine of personal satisfaction, and in shadows of troubles, wanting and longing to resolve them. By emphasising only the outer appearance of an individual or community, we all to often run the risk of emphasising their differences, or even discriminating against them. Instead of which, we should make the effort to look for the similarities we share with others, and in that way, let tolerance, harmony and cooperation grow.
The nurturing of a culture that respects human rights and fundamental freedoms of every individual, and with it the inseparably connected realisation of duties and responsibilities to our fellow man and community, it is vital concern of each and every person in a community in which we are friends and brothers.