Cambridge exhibition gives rare insight into the hidden world of Istanbul’s Roma community

A Cambridge coffee shop is hosting a special display of photographs that capture Turkey’s vibrant Roma community. The photos were taken last year by Luana Burton, Artur Conka and Jesse Wood as part of the Music Beyond Barriers project organised by local arts body Balik Arts. The free exhibition is on at the Hot Numbers Café in Gwydir Street until Sunday 1st May.

In October, Balik Arts arranged for a group of young British musicians and multi-media specialists to visit Istanbul to jam with their Roma peers. The project, captured on film and in photos, gave the visitors a unique insight into this closed community who are fiercely protective of their culture and identity, yet who have been increasingly threatened by Turkey’s gentrification policies.

There are an estimated 2.7 million people of Roma heritage in Turkey. Six years ago, the central Istanbul district of Sulukule – one of the world’s oldest permanent Roma settlements and home to thousands of Turkish gypsies – was demolished to make way for an urban regeneration scheme.

Sulukule was famed among locals and tourists alike, who came in search of the Roma’s lively street music and dance culture. Although the community is now dispersed across the city, local and international efforts are underway to bring together young Roma to help reinforce their sense of identity and maintain their cultural traditions.

Catch this exhibition while you can!

Exhibition: Hidden Roma of Istanbul

Dates: Tuesday 19th April to Sunday 1st May 2016

Opening Times: Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat:  07:15-18:00 / Thurs, Fri: 07:15-22:30 /  Sun: 08:00-20:00

Venue address:  Hot Numbers Coffee, Dale’s Brewery, Gwydir Street, Cambridge CB1 2LJ

Entry: FREE