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First-ever Museum of Roma Culture prize awarded to Czech Radio journalist
07-12-2009  Gabriela Grmolcová

Jana Horváthová and Jana Šustová (Photo: Lenka Grossmannová) On Thursday, 3 December, the first-ever Museum of Roma Culture prize was awarded in Brno to Czech Radio journalist and museum benefactress Jana Šustová for her reporting, for the Czech Radio internet portal on the Roma which she edits, and for her valuable gifts to the museum. The certificate she received reads that the prize was awarded to her “for her ongoing support of the museum, her assistance in building its collections, and her ongoing promotion of Roma culture in general.”

Jana Horváthová and Jana Šustová (Photo: Lenka Grossmannová) Jana Šustová won the prize from museum staff in Brno not just for her professional work with the Roma as a journalist, but also for the selfless assistance she has provided the institution, as museum director PhDr. Jana Horváthová explains:

“Our museum has done its best for quite some time to reach out to the widest possible range of business people and personalities for support. We don’t have much success - we are more successful with intellectual personalities who are able to make symbolic contributions only. We were very surprised when a journalist from Czech Radio became our greatest benefactress.”

Jana Horváthová and Jana Šustová (Photo: Lenka Grossmannová) Jana Šustová has worked as a journalist at Czech Radio since the year 2000. She edits the web pages (recently nominated for the Gypsy Spirit Prize) and collaborates with the Roma-language section of the Radiožurnál radio station, which produces the program “O Roma vakeren”. In the course of her travels she has purchased work from Romani artists and donated it all to the museum. The prize came as a great surprise to her:

“I did not expect this at all. They told me about a month ago when I was here for work, and made me promise to come back for the ceremony. When I learned that the prize would be given at a meeting commemorating the Union of Gypsies-Roma, and when I imagined all of the people who would be there and who have been working on Roma issues for 40-50 years, I was completely embarrassed, as a white gadje, to be receiving it.”

What prompted you to become such a significant benefactress of the Museum of Roma Culture? Is there a personal motivation?

Jana Šustová with the certificate (Photo: Lenka Grossmannová) “I have been traveling here to record interviews for almost 10 years, and I have very much fallen in love with the museum. I have gotten to know its work, and also that financially it is not in a very good position, that it does not have much money for international research or purchasing exhibition pieces. Whenever I manage to travel abroad to record something among the Roma, I meet Romani artists and jewelry designers, so after reaching an agreement with the museum director, I began purchasing things for the collection. In the end, when I brought them back to the Czech Republic I decided to give them to the museum for free, because it’s beautiful to support an institution like this. It’s also fun to collect and search for Roma artwork, because it’s not so common.”

Translated by Gwendolyn Albert

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