Marika Schmiedt is an artist, filmmaker, and activist from Vienna who has researched the historic and present persecution and marginalisation of the Roma and Sinti for almost two decades.
With numerous films, exhibitions, posters, and catalogues, she documents this extremely violent history, till the present day, and makes every effort to intervene in a discourse characterized by stark racism. Her recent works include the poster campaign Die Würde des Menschen ist antastbar – Kein Grundrecht auf ein besseres Leben! (2016), Futschikato – Die verschwundenen Roma und Sinti aus Kirchstetten und der „Fall Weinheber“ (2015), Was bleibt – Fragmente einer fortwährenden Vergangenheit (2015) or the variable work Die Gedanken sind frei (2015).
Among her films are Warum die Wunde offen bleibt (2016), which deals with a second and third generation Holocaust reappraisal; Roma Memento. Zukunft ungewiss? (2012), a dialogue with Schmiedt’s mother, who, as a young Romni, lived through a parentless childhood in various foster care and children’s homes; Vermächtnis (2011), is a portrait of Ceija Stojka.
Central to her artistic practice is the analysis of the Holocaust committed upon the Roma and Sinti by the NS regime, which she processes in a manner that is not content with just remembering but is set on confronting attitudes like the one expressed by the mayor of Kirchstetten, censored one of her installations:“Remembering yes, but we have to put an end to historic reappraisal and examination.”
Her disruptive and disquieting artwork gained recognition, and as the philosopher Gayatri Spivak, writes: “Marika has made the subaltern speak, in a certain way for sure, through representation, but much more forcefully.”