The Romani Cultural and Arts Company 39th profile will be of Bela Varadi
BELA VARADI is a Hungarian-born documentary photographer who moved to the UK in 2012 after he needed to leave his career in journalism and public broadcasting following the far-right Orban government’s crackdown on media and editorial freedom.
For decades, Bela has been trying to integrate his two main interests: creating visual art and representing the life and interests of the Roma people. As a young adult, Bela worked as a local minority representative in Hungary while painting pictures of the Roma life in his village. Starting a career in journalism helped him to find an accommodating platform for his passion for visual and social representation. Bela was one of the founding members of Europe’s first Roma radio, RadioC. After working for various radio stations and online newspapers, he became a television news reporter and broadcaster. Alongside his journalist job, Bela created a documentary mini-series which won the grand prize at the Faces of Poverty Film Festival in 2010.
After the change in government in Hungary, Bela left his job in broadcasting in 2011 and moved to the UK.
Starting life in a new country forced Bela to reconsider how he could create socially conscious visual art. He turned my attention to photography and started creating documentary photo series about Roma and Traveller life in the UK and documenting the intersectionality of Roma and LGBTQ+ experiences. Some of his photo series have been awarded and nominated in international photo competitions. Bela exhibited photos at a literary festival in Hastings and at the Glastonbury Festival in 2022 and 2023. Since 2022, he has worked for the Traveller Times, the leading GRT magazine in the UK. Bela’s photographs and videos have been commissioned by different Gypsy Romani and Traveller charities, and he is also currently working on photographing a book about showcasing Romani textile artworks.
Here are some links to Bela’s work and his contact details:
2023, The Atchin Tan, Glastonbury Festival.
2022, Diddakoi, Electro Studios Hastings, funded by ACE.
2022, The Atchin Tan, Glastonbury Festival.
2023 Where Gypsy art meets the Gorjas – Photo essay of the Glastonbury Festival 2023
2022, Pride, Travellers Times, photographic representations of the intersectionality of LGBTQ+ identities and Gypsy, Roma and Traveller identities: https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/index.php/features/traveller-pride-glad-be-back-person-pride-events
2022, Appleby Horse Fair, Travellers Times: https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/index.php/features/appleby-2022-bela-varadi-photo-essay
2022, Travellers Times, French Gypsy Pilgrimage at St-Maries-de-la-Mer: https://www.travellerstimes.org.uk/features/bela-varadi-getting-soaked-pilgrims
2023, Fine Art Photography Award nominations in Photojournalism and People categories https://fineartphotoawards.com/winners-gallery/people/, https://fineartphotoawards.com/winners-gallery/photojournalism, https://fineartphotoawards.com/winners-gallery/fapa-2022-2023/professional/photojournalism/hm/18889
2022, Fine Art Photography Award nominations in Photojournalism category https://fineartphotoawards.com/winners-gallery/fapa-2021-2022/professional/photojournalism/hm/16928
2021, Gypsy Hill, MIFA Moscow International Foto Awards, Editorial