Homelands (Year 1)

Homelands (Year 1)


‘Homelands’ is a visual and media arts community residency project, initiated by ISIS Arts, taking place in the North East region over a three-year period, and includes residencies in the UK for regional and international artists linking to our Diaspora communities.

‘Homelands’ is exploring ideas surrounding home, migration and a collective sense of belonging. The project supports a shared cultural language of expression promoting a better mutual understanding, helping to support people to express a strong sense of identity, and arm them with confidence and tools to combat prejudice.

In its first year we were delighted to work with North East based Slovakian artist Zuzana Hruskova and Marek Šulík, a filmmaker based in Bratislava. They worked closely with families from the Slovak/Czech Roma community in the west end of Newcastle.

Between May and July 2011 Zuzana Hruskova and Marek Šulík created 'Messenger' a short film made up of video and photo letters. Working between Benwell, Newcastle and various areas of Slovakia theydocumented Roma families recording messages in the form of videos, photographs, handwritten letters, audio recordings which were carefully delivered from migrant families based in the UK to relatives back in Slovakia. Responses were then filmed and the process was repeated. The project has opened many unexpected doors, reconnecting relatives who haven't spoken for years, bringing together a man with the young girl who once saved his life and prompting an entire family to set off on a road trip from Newcastle to Slovakia.

Through summer 2012 we exhibited works byZuzana Hruskova and Marek Šulíkfrom our year-long project, 'Homelands' at Settle Down Cafe, Newcastle.

The exhibition contained a collection of photography, video and installation work by the two artists made with and inspired by Roma families and communities living in Newcastle.


From 30th Oct - 2nd Dec 'Messenger' byZuzana Hruskova and Marek Šulíkwill be exhibited at The Central European House of Photography in Bratislava, Slovakia.




To purchase a dvd of the Homelands film in full and other work from the project, please contact charlotte@isisarts.org.uk



Benene Story, 2011, Newcastle upon Tyne & Slovakia

(TOP: The Message from Bebene, UK -

BELOW: The message from Maria pictured with her sister, Slovakia, May/June 2011)


Zuzana Hruskovawas born in 1977 in Trstena, Slovakia, approximately 10 km from the Slovak/Polish border. She studied in the departments of textile design and painting at the Academy of Fine Art and Design in Bratislava, and was an Erasmus Scholar at the University of Newcastle. She lives and works in Newcastle upon Tyne. Using photography, narrative and written systems and other art forms, she participates regularly in international and national events. She is closely involved with Roma communities settled in Newcastle and beyond. Zuzana joined ISIS for a 3-week research residency in 2008, when she started to develop the ideas for Homelands. She has exhibited at the Side Gallery and Cinema, the Waygood Gallery, the Globe Gallery and BALTIC in the North East, as well as galleries in Slovakia, Austria, Holland and Poland.


Marek Šulíkwas born 1974 in Žilina, Czechoslovakia. He graduated from the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava. In 2005 he was awarded the Zentiva Award for young filmmakers at the International Film, Television and Video Festival Febiofest. Through his work, which centres on the social documentary, he often collaborates with non-governmental organisations. He collaborates on projects as a director and editor. He teaches documentary film making at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Bratislava and works as a lecturer on film workshops. In June 2011 his latest production was premiered at Sheffield Doc/Fest.


Homelands is supported by Northern Rock Foundation, Newcastle City Council and the ‘Make Your Mark’ fund.

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