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Czechoslovakia (Strážnice)
From the book Gypsies

Josef Koudelka, Czech, born 1938

Photograph taken in Strážnice, Czech Republic, Europe


Gelatin silver print

Image: 9 3/16 × 14 1/16 inches (23.4 × 35.7 cm) Sheet: 11 13/16 × 15 11/16 inches (30 × 39.8 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Contemporary Photography Exhibition Fund, 1977

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Koudelka frequently visited East Slovakia between 1962 and 1968 to photograph the day-to-day activities of the region's Gypsies (or Romanies). Since the sixteenth century, these itinerant people were alternately encouraged and forced to settle in East Slovakia, forming one of the world's largest sedentary Gypsy populations. A particularly intense drive for assimilation into Czechoslovakian society during the 1950s further threatened to eliminate the Gypsy way of life, but groups countered this trend with a resurrection of traditional music, dance, and other cultural activities. Koudelka's photograph depicts one such event, as an eager crowd forms around Gypsy musicians in the town of Straznice.