Culture Supplement

"Breathe" through art that stands in solidarity with the heroes of the pandemic

The second day of the "FemArt" festival started with the "Feminism, Modernism and Change" workshop, led by Shqipe Malushi in the "ODA" theater, focused on empowering women and increasing awareness of the importance of being independent. How they managed to find independence through art was the headline of the podcast "Art Against Oppression" authored by Uresa Ahmeti.

The speakers of this panel - Donikë Ahmeti, Edon Shileku and Blerta Zeqiri, have revealed their experiences as a conversation between two artists known for the art scene in Kosovo and a new artist, who has just started the first steps in this scene as an actor and singer. They talked about the challenges that artists overcome every day in Kosovo, discrimination based on gender, but also about successes.

An example of art as solidarity even in times of pandemic, was the "Breathe" exhibition. "FemArt" gathered the participants of the festival in the Gallery of the Faculty of Arts for the solemn opening of the exhibition curated by Berat Bajrami. An exhibition, which bows to the "saviors" of COVID-19, the medical personnel all over the world. A touching, beautiful and artistic token of thanks with the works of ten national and international artists were the works placed on the walls of the Gallery of the Faculty of Arts.

"The reason why I have chosen to be the curator of this exhibition is because I am part of the collaboration with 'Cities of Peace' in the 'Breathing Project'. The selection of American artists was made in collaboration with Ellen Frank and other members who are in America. The first exhibition of the 'Breathing Project' was opened in New York on September 12, while today's exhibition in Pristina is the second exhibition", said Bajrami, project coordinator at "ArtPolis", organizer of "FemArt", which this year comes with ninth edition.

The idea of ​​this exhibition, according to him, is for artists to follow the stories of doctors and create art from their stories.

"It is an unusual collaboration, but with great value. The pandemic has brought many tragic and inspiring stories. "Breathing Project" and the exhibition "Breathe" come as a sign of gratitude to doctors for the great work and sacrifice they have made throughout the pandemic," said Bajrami.

One element that sets this exhibition apart from many others is a white fabric placed on the gallery wall. The public, through the brushes and colors that were arranged on the ground, could draw on the fabric or leave a message honoring and remembering the victims of COVID-19, and the medical personnel. After the end of the exhibition, this fabric, which in one form turns into a completed painting, will be sent to the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the KKUK.

Each artist, in their own way and style, presented the feelings of living in a time of pandemic and the isolation that the whole world experienced for a whole year.

"My work is a work that I created even before I was selected as one of the artists for this exhibition. The idea is to treat the balcony space, where in this case I started from my balcony. The idea started during the time of quarantine where in a way the balcony was an 'escape' from the room and there I started to analyze the space around me, where in a way this subject haunted me and inspired me to create the work of art that is presented tonight to the public", said Renea Begolli, participating artist of the ninth edition of the "FemArt" festival.

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One element that sets this exhibition apart from many others is a white fabric placed on the gallery wall. The public, through brushes and colors that were arranged on the ground, could draw on the fabric or leave a message honoring and remembering the victims of COVID-19, and the medical personnel

She brings a very special painting-installation created from a fabric, which presents the artist's room, a painted glass with the view she saw from her balcony, and a small space between the room and the balcony, the fabric and the glass painted, symbolizing her "escape" and a small particle of freedom.

The performance of the artist Saranda Sadikaj (Ms. Indefinite) also went livestream, "Marigona no longer embroiders the flag." A five-minute video featuring a girl dressed in black standing next to a chair covered with a white sheet holding a mirror and red rose implying that someone has died. She continues by unfurling the red and black flag and begins a dialogue: “Around the united eagle, with one desire and one goal. All while swearing to her to make a promise for change...Who is a woman does not give up, I am sacrificing myself, I am sacrificing myself to never die". At the end, she is seen standing in front of the Basic Court in Ferizaj and her face is reflected in the mirror placed on the chair as a kind of metaphor that she too can end up a victim at the hands of a man.

A touching, inspiring and active performance and a call to the Basic Court in Ferizaj for its failure to protect girls and women in Kosovo who have died at the hands of men.

The night ended with a show at the Dodona Theater directed by Ilirjana Arifi entitled "Birthday". Famous actresses like Igballe Qena, Rebeka Qena and Alketa Sylaj were the protagonists of this show.

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