The case of a stolen talking tomcat

Artistic iconoclasm as a possible way of questioning the authority of image and stereotypes reproduced in culture and education.

Vendula Fremlová, Marie Fulková
Charles University


This article presents and analyses the artistic work of a group of Czech and Slovak Romani artists called Romane Kale Panthera. Using an example of appropriating a classic work by famous Czech artist Josef Lada, Romane Kale Panthera show the problematic issue of verbal and visual testimonies and the changeability of their effects in the social environment. The focus of this article is the illustrated story of the talking tomcat, which is considered an icon by many generations of Czech children, the meaning of which, however, is the exact opposite for children from the Romani minority. We explain how, as a result of changes to the original text of the fairy tale and to the visual signs in this classic illustration, the contexts of the work, the position of its user and its performative effects change as well. In conclusion, the text reflects the function of language and the circumstances in which a change in thinking and behaviour occurs in relation to the ‘other’.

Online book: Documents of Socially engaged Arts, Raphaela Vella and Melanie Sarantou, InSEA, 2021/2022

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