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Gypsy life showcased in “The Heroic Present: The Gypsy Photographs of Jan Yoors”
“The Heroic Present: The Gypsy Photographs of Jan Yoors” features 65 extraordinary photographs, many of which have never before been seen. Spanning five decades, they are part of a rare collection of images of the Roma community.
The only child of a prominent artist and human rights activist, Yoors traveled widely with the Roma — commonly referred to as gypsies — for six years, capturing the daily life of a European Romani community with a Kodak Brownie camera. Yoors’ parents, Magda and Eugene, regarded their son’s adventure as a learning experience.
“The Heroic Present: The Gypsy Photographs of Jan Yoors” features 65 extraordinary photographs, many of which have never before been seen. The reprinted photos, which span five decades, are part of a rare collection of images aimed at giving viewers a sense of the Roma community.
“We came across the Jan Yoors story while researching another exhibition at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.,” said Catherine Lewis, associate professor of history and director of KSU’s Holocaust Education Program. “We subsequently got in touch with the family, and it happened they were looking for someone to curate an exhibit of Jan’s photos.”
The exhibit opens March 18, in the Social Sciences Building, with a 6:30 p.m. lecture by Ian Hancock, a leading scholar on Roma life, language and history, from the University of Texas. The exhibit will be on display at KSU for about a month, before the eight free-standing panels and 65 prints are packed up for a 10-city tour of libraries, museums and community centers in the U.S. and abroad.
“These photos offer an unparalleled look at a people who have lived among us for hundreds of years and still remain the least understood culture of our time,” Kore Yoors, Jan’s son, said.
Kore Yoors will attend the exhibit’s opening.
It was in Kore’s New York City apartment where the details of the exhibit were finalized and the 65 photos were chosen from among the 50,000 in his late father’s collection. Jan died on Nov. 27, 1977, at the age of 55.
“It’s exactly how you come across historical stories — in people’s living rooms and basements,” Lewis said. “Most of history’s greatest stories aren’t yet archived in museums.”
For more information, or to schedule an interview with Catherine Lewis or Kore Yoors, contact Jennifer Hafer at 770-423-6711 or email@example.com.
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A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State University is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing student population of more than 20‚000 from 132 countries. The third-largest university in Georgia, Kennesaw State offers more than 60 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including a new doctorate in education.