I was sad, happy, lost, inspired, fell in love, and I found hope - Selma Selman on her year after RGPP

August 2, 2016

2016 was an incredible year! I was sad, happy, lost, inspired, fell in love, and I found hope.

I learned to be more confident and trust myself. My professional skills are much sharper. In particular, the guidance I received in the RGPP program in 2015 was incredibly helpful. Overall, I had a beautiful experience meeting so many young Roma people and such a diverse group of talented people. Studying in America this year gave me another great opportunity to meet with students from all around the world. These encounters helped raise my confidence, broaden my perspective of the world, and the RIPS scholarship allowed me to fully pursue my educational goals.

Studying in Syracuse was an amazing opportunity because it allowed me to work with extremely experienced and rigorous artists and professors. I made a lot of friends all around the world and I feel incredibly fortunate and enriched by that. The most important aspect of life is to be surrounded by friends -- they are the garden you need to take care of in order to help you grow.

In addition, I truly enjoy my job teaching young people about art. I love talking to them about their ideas and guiding them through their projects. I learn just as much from them as they do from me.

I have traveled extensively this year and I am currently preparing for the next journey. These travels have created both good and bad experiences.

One of my biggest successes was my first solo show in the US titled ''I exist" curated by Jasmina Tumbas. The exhibition was centered around my mother's past and present life.

I was also part of the group show called "Hero mother" curated by Bojana Pejic and Rachel Rits-Volloch. I felt incredibly blessed to exhibit with Danica Dakic, Tania Bruguera, Marina Abramovic etc. I was also in Kosovo, a special experience for me since my mother is from Pristina -- I felt a deep connection with that city. I also exhibited and performed in Zagreb, Rijeka, Beograd, Berlin, Vienna, New Orleans and Phoenix.

So, from all this experience l learned some lessons in my life. One of them is that being healthy and alive is very important in order to work on creating the change that you want. I learned that fear can enter deep into you and destroy you if you do not destroy it first. I learned that being fearful of your enemies is unnecessary and I learned that we should be aware of the people who "love" us.

"I did not choose this life this life choose me" spoken by Benazir Bhutto, a Pakistani woman who changed her society. I chose to be an artist and I believe in what I create. We all have our own paths and we must all walk them with Love. It sounds cliche but in order to be found you must first be lost -- and love is the most powerful tool for losing and finding ourselves, again and again and again.

Photo by Jasmina Tumbas