Jana Plavec

2014 - Ongoing

Czech Republic

Windows of Chanov" is an ongoing long term project about a Roma ghetto in the Czech Republic.

The history of the place called Chanov is being written since 1978 and became a symbol of "unadaptability of the Romas" and their struggling to join or to assimililate with the major society.

Nowadays the ghetto contends with high rate of unemployment and criminality, among whose stand prostitution and heavy drug addiction, and became an „unsolved problem“ for the local government. The way of living of Romas evincs a repeating pattern across all settlement sites inhabited from a bigger part by Roma population. Among these characteristics belong as well so called „see-through block of flats“. The houses are being dissasemblaged or demolished by their own inhabitants and unintentionally create an extraordinary surreal views into the surrounding.

Chanov site suffers from deepening isolation and strong social tensions with the majority society and presents hopeless later prospect for local Roma to easily step out of the life patterns of the ghettos.

The aim of this project is to give a view from the inside of the place or from the viewpoint of the local group by long term repeatening visiting and spending time inside the community. Mostly there is a shallowly presented view from the outside, which leads to misunderstandings and supporting the social prejudice pointed to the local ethnics. The project ´s ambition as well is to capture through photography medium the patterns of the place created by Roma population and to document the mutual connections and influencing by living in special conditions in their unique aesthetical appearance. From this reason I would like to widen the horizon by observing other places similar to Chanov and bring a testimony about the life in a Roma „ghetto" through it´s visualized stories.

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  • One of the lookouts from the windows in the Chanov´s ghetto.

  • Chanov settlement site from the East.

  • Popik standing in front of the site.

  • Young boys playing football in their improvised clubhouse.

  • Gábina, mother of five, prostitute.

  • Gágina´s child sitting in a hall in their apartment. Shortly after the photo was captured, the children have been taken by a social care officer to the children´s home due parent-neglecting.

  • Children playing games in one of the block of flats.

  • Kája, drug addict.

  • Popik ruminating on his couch.

  • One of the "meth meetings" taking place in former Popik´s apartment.

  • A view from the abandoned house.

  • Kája watching television in his shared apartment with another Roma family.

  • A street view from an abandoned block of flats, nowadays torned down by bulldozers.

  • A Chanov´s stil life.

  • Ušák, drug addict, one of the Popik´s friends.

  • Chanov - wall.

  • Tomáš right after a flight from a borstal captured in one of the Popik´s former flats.

  • Goro.

  • Erika with her friends playing in one of the buildings.

  • Popik inside his at that time apartment.