Luton Cultural Services Trust and the re-created youth group purchased and decorated a traditional Romani gypsy vardo (wagon) in original folk art style.
This was for the purpose of learning about the cultural meaning behind the designs, colours and styles used on Romani wagons, as well as the cultural links with India in Romani art. The historic collections at Luton’s Stockwood Discovery Centre and Wardown Park were used to research examples of Romani and other folk art artefacts. The collections were also used by young people as a source of creative ideas.
An artist held workshops with young people in the skills of painting in the Romani folk art tradition, and explained the meaning and stories behind many of the decorative motifs. Participants also compared Romani styles with examples of Indian and other folk art in the local collections, and discussed what art and design motifs meant to them. Events were held outside the museum that took the vardo into the community to share what the young people had learned and to create a permanent learning resource for schools. The beautifully decorated vardo is now on permanent display at Stockwood Park.