/ Lucia Sekerková & Ivana Šusterová / Photo story


Vrăjitoare – witches, fortune tellers, healers… Many Romanian Roma women identify themselves with such descriptions. In the past fortune-telling had a strong tradition within many travelling Roma groups wandering across the European area. Fortune telling abilities were primarily attributed to, in the main, older women, undoubtedly for their lifelong experiences. Their potential clients were to be found anywhere in the streets of the villages and towns where their caravans happened to have stopped. Due to the constant movement of the group, it was obviously impossible to complain as to the service rendered. In my photographic collection I try to record the consequences of globalisation, which has inherently transformed this profession, which in itself balances on the thin divide between mysticism and showmanship for the client. Today these women no longer walk the streets in search of suitable palms from which to tell their owner ́s future, but the clients themselves seek them out on the basis of advertisement in the media or on social networks, subsequently visiting them in their splendid houses. Instead of palm reading or fortune telling from tea leaves, it is now sufficient to know your name, date of birth and perhaps an on-line chat on the social network. The profession has been transformed into a business, inherited across generations. Nine year old girls are already starting their promotional “vrajitoare” profiles on the Facebook. Dolls are at one moment their toy, yet at any time they can transform themselves into a magical artefact with the ability to regain a client ́s lost love.

Lucia Sekerková (1991) is a student of fifth year Advertising photography at Faculty of Multimedia Communications of Tomas Bata University in Zlín. During her studies, she has been documenting the life of Roma women in Romania. She has also received a Canon Junior Award in Czech Press Photo competed in 2013 for her project Donum Vitae. Part of her current project Vrăjitoare was exhibited in the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art and Czech Photo Centre in Prague or in Central European House of Photography in Bratislava. Ivana Šusterová (1989) studied ethnology and folkloristic at Faculty of Arts at Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra and, currently, she is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Ethnology at Slovak Academy of Sciences. Her studies focus on everyday life and culture of Vlach Roma people. She is an author of several articles and a book Life of Vlach women.