Project Roma

I have traveled the south part of Spain for a month in December 1997. I chose this country because of my strong interest on Hispanic cultures. The thing I saw at there was the mingle of cultres. It is not same way as the United States has today. It has longer length of history. That means more complex and completed mixture of cultures. To me, the dfference of cultures comes from the length of the country's own history.

The culture that attracted me at there was the one of Gitano's (Spanish Gypsy). They originated in India from centuries ago. The thing I witnessed at there was the completely new culture born from the mixture of Islam, the medieval European and African cultures. By seeing and experiencing those and feeling sympathy with them, I want to know more and photograph about them.

The reason why I feel sympathy with them is from my experience that I have being remote from my native country for long time. Also, this personal experience makes me feel being on the road of traveling and searching for my identity. As one of the minorities in this country, I have experienced some racial discrimination. It was the experience that I have never had before until I came to the United States.

Many gypsies do not have thier home country and have been persecuted by others for long time in their history. Some people use the word "exiles" to express gypsies. I use the word "exile" to express myself as a state of searching for my identity as a Japanese and a human being. This project is not only about Gitanos, but also about myself.

Autumn, 1999

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