Hans Dhamo Caldaras was born in Stockholm in 1948. He grew up in Roma camps, travelling with his mother and brother around in Sweden. At the age of ten-years-old he attended school for the first time. During the 1960s, he was fighting for Roma rights with his mother’s cousin, Katarina Taikon and with Thomas Hammarberg.
Ever since, he has been an activist for human rights, beside of his work as a professional artist and lecturer. Calderas was the first Roma artist in Sweden to make a LP record for Sonet, with traditional songs in the Kelderaš dialect. In 2002, he wrote an autobiography, I betraktarens ögon (‘In the eyes of the beholder’), which was also published in Romanian, under the title, Privirea Celuilalt (2011), which also gives an insight in the history of Kelderaš.
In 2002, Calderas was elected as a member of the Swedish Pen Club. From 2007 until 2011, he was director of the Roma Cultural Centre in Stockholm. From 2007 to 2010, he was a member of the government’s Delegation for Roma Questions, and in 2012, he was part of the international Romani Elders initiative in Berlin, aimed at ensuring the erection of the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism. In 2016, he was the first prize winner of the Katarina Taikon Award, given by the City of Stockholm.
Calderas regularly translates books in to Romani and records readings in Rromani-chib for CD, radio and TV. In recent years Calderas has spent much of his time fighting for the rights of impoverished Roma, mainly from Romania and Bulgaria, who migrate to Sweden and other countries to escape discrimination.