Chad Wyatt remembers Milena

Washington, 14. 9. 2005, 18:30 (Chad Evans Wyatt)

Dr Milena Hübschmannová came to my photo-portraiture project, RomaRising/Romské obrození very early in the effort, only months after its start. My good friend the celebrated photographer, Ivan Pinkava, had suggested that I contact this legendary figure in letters and in the emancipation of the Roma of the Czech Republic. I presented her with my hopes for this project, and she readily offered help, indeed, put me in contact with some of the work's eventual subjects.

One cannot describe adequately the broad heart and deep compassion of this person. Through self-sacrifice and tenacity, she was responsible for the codification and lettering of the Romany language, previously only an oral tradition. Then urged those she found to write the stories and histories that were its part.

And she served as eminence grise to the giant of a photographer, Josef Koudelka, in his history-bending work on "Gypies" and "Exiles" of the late 1960's and early 1970's. It was my humble gratitude that she also considered the RR/RO work worthy. Her last written words to me, just six days before her tragic death, were "I went to see the exhibition (at the Prague Castle's Belveder) - it is excellent.."

Thank you, dear Milena. Many more than I can ever know mourn your untimely passing, as they celebrate your passage within our lifetimes.

Chad Evans Wyatt