*We regret to announce that Ferdinant Koci is unable to travel to Venice to participate in the Roma Pavilion due to a family emergency.
Ferdinant Koci is an avid observer of people around him, even if only fleetingly passing by. Like in an underground passage in London where he sometimes spends his time drawing portraits in exchange for a small fee, in literally no time at all he manages to capture the features and character of a person willing to briefly pose for him. Or, when he teaches drawing classes in primary schools throughout Great Britain, Koci not only explores with children the possibility to narrate the world through art, but also endeavors to infuse this world with knowledge about travellers and the Roma community, and about the pride attached to it. In Venice, he temporarily lends his skills to the Roma Pavilion, where during three days of live testimonies he carefully studies each situation unfolding around him in order to capture its quintessence in a sketch. In parallel to the series of testimonies delivered by artists, thinkers, and activists in solidarity with Roma people and against the discriminatory acts of the majority society against their way of life, Koci deftly records his impressions of the “witnesses” in his sketches, acting as a courtroom artist of sorts. Within the Call the Witness exhibition, he gradually builds up his own modest installation, putting his drawings on show one after the other as they are completed. (Maria Hlavajova)
FERDINANT KOCI (born 1968) is an artist. His work spans many media, from cartoons to murals, and from portraits to educational texts, and takes its inspiration from his journeys through various Roma communities throughout the world. In addition to producing and exhibiting new work, Koci is currently teaching art workshops in schools across the United Kingdom. He won the Beaux Artes Competition in Clermont-Ferrand, France, and participated in the Artists Open Studios program, Sheffield and South Yorkshire, 2010. Recent exhibitions include: Ferdinant Koci, West Park Centre, Leeds, 2010; Ferdinant Koci, The Flux Gallery, Leeds, 2009–present; and Ferdinant Koci, Leeds Central Gallery, Leeds, 2008. Koci lives and works in London.