Nihad Nino Pušija
Nihad Nino Pušija (D/BIH) was born 1965 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina, and is a fine art photographer. His work focused primarily on documentary and portrait photography, which aims to capture Roma identity in Berlin, where he has been based for the past 29 years, and elsewhere in Europe. Important themes in his work include the politics of recognition, minority positions in contemporary artistic and curatorial practice, South – East Europe, refugees, conflict resolution, integration, inclusion, and the Roma and Sinti in Europe. Photography is the most historically complex and problematic genre to appropriate the Roma subject.
Will the Roma ever be able to dissociate themselves from the traumatising – sexualising, slavery, and criminalising practices of photographic representation used throughout the history of anthropology and ethnography? His work has received support from the New Society for Visual Arts Berlin, Museum of European Cultures, Allianz Cultural Foundation, and European Roma Institute for Arts and Culture. He was included in the 1st and 2nd Roma Pavilions at the Venice Biennale (2007; 2011).
Encounters, Berlin, Germany 2020
The photo of Ali is from the photo series Encounters, which was taken during the first wave of the Covid 19 pandemic in Berlin. The portrait image chosen is symbolic of many of the struggles being waged in Berlin by people with a so-called “migration background”. The T-shirt, gold chain, hat, and red mask – stand universally for survival, self-assertion, and self-determination. The image serves to break down clichés.
Gladiators, Roma, Italy 2011
The photo of Valentino is a metaphor and comes from the photo series Gladiators in Rome. The photo shoot took place in Rome about 150 years after the Roma people were freed from slavery. With the final act of abolition in Romania, nearly 250,000 Roma slaves became legally free after almost 500 years of slavery. Italian Roma youth were symbolically photographed in a gladiator school in Rome wearing original gladiator gear.