"Crow" with portraits of women, emerging from the walls in the call for equality
Crow's crow is genesis. It does not come across as ominous, but personifies the voice of a woman. The Malaysian artist, Milena Jovicević, has occupied the walls of the "Archive" of Peja, once a school object, with portraits of prominent women. They hide through the faded facades as if they intend to get out of there. There are also portraits on the floor. Frames without portraits have a different meaning and what they have in common is the call for equality
There are many figures of women inside an object. But it is not easy to explore them. Their signs are often a kind of mosaic that takes time to reveal. The contemporary art institute "Arkiv" in Pejë has been their shelter within the framework of the "Crow" exhibition of the Malaysian artist Milena Jovicević, who is not a little rebellious about gender differences.
All the elements of the exhibition are slightly visible, but with a very significant and powerful message. Most of them are found in the battered walls of the building that until now has served as a primary school. Not coincidentally, it comes with the symbolism that women's contribution lies in the shadow of men and must be tracked down to discover it.
The exhibition "Crow" protests for the woman at the entrance of the object. In one corner, on the gray plates, the picture without color is difficult to distinguish. It was the author of the exhibition who leads and becomes the exhibition's cicerone. But not only there. The entire space of what now serves as the contemporary art institute "Archive" has been extremely large for pieces of photographs and not only. Of course, it was hardly visible even in the exhibition, so its author, Milena Jovicević, becomes a Cicero. In this way, the historical figure of Kosovo's women has been made visible to them.
Jovicević, among other things, made one with the floor on the ground floor and on the other two floors of the building. Signs, however minimal, are everywhere. Corridors, rooms, even in one of the facility's toilets. They are warned from the outside, when eight signs of the institutions of the city of Peja are placed, where the leadership of women is improvised there.
Placed on the two sides that hold the part where the "Vaso Pashë Shkodrani" elementary school sign is located, all together come as a backdrop to the strain of the man's position and the fading of the woman's. As the prominent figure has been given the title "pashë", the author has practiced this method in her improvisation of "leading women". Thus, a primary and lower secondary school named it "Singer - Nexhmije Pagarusha". Others are also named after women.
One was named "Embryologist - Ahsene Luci-Agai", the other was named "Judge - Hadije Maloku-Begolli", while the name "Gynecologist - Sehadete Doko-Mekuli" is also in the lowest part of the vertically arranged tables.
In the other column, the labels "Historian - Vahide Kabashi-Hoxha", "Painter - Alije Vokshi", "Poet - Sevdije Boshnjaku-Zajmi" and "Cardiopediatrician - Muazeze Jusufi" appear.
Milena Jovicević said that the elements of the exhibition, especially the photographs placed on the walls and floor, come as a request from women to be heard and their contribution recognized.
"We entered this school and saw that there is a list of important figures of Kosovo, of its history, that is, outstanding figures. Only two of them were women: Mother Teresa and Elena Gjika. I thought that this is not fair that there are no other women here, that some women should be placed here. I did a research and my idea was to put some dough in it", said the author of the exhibition.
The part of existing photographs in the school is another story that joins this line. She also aimed for equality among historical figures when she added frames in honor of women. It is no coincidence that they carry only inscriptions and no photographs. The frame that has only the woman's name and biography is dedicated to the climber Pakize Mulla-Poqesta, the car racer Lirije Shala-Salihu, the caricaturist Luljeta Kujtimi-Goranci, the architect Suadë Doko-Mekuli, the parachutist Ganimete Vula-Nura and the water jumper Gonxhe Xjiha- Basha. Archaeologist Edi Shukriu and engineer Myzafere Limani have also made room.
According to her, the exhibition is specific work and implies that it should be correct even in the context of the school.
In one of the rooms, there is a picture of her mother on the wall.
"When I came to this school, the first thing I saw was a 'billboard' that read Vaso Pashë Shkodrani. I said: 'OK, of course it's a man, it couldn't be a woman, it's a pasha. My mother was born in the same year as the school. She was born in 1946, the school was built that year. My grandfather's name was Vaso. I thought that my mother is somehow a part of this story", said Jovicević while justifying the inclusion of her mother's photo in the exhibition.
Another medium that completes the exhibition is the audio installation with crow's croaks. The first contact of the artist Jovicević was the crow's crow. It had seemed to him a very powerful voice that could symbolize a woman's voice.
"The crow is always a bad sign, it is a premonition that something bad will happen. But I didn't take it in that sense. It is the most intelligent bird, not only in their group, but of all animals. When she makes that sound, she warns you that something will happen to you", said Milena Jovicević, who studied art at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Montenegro, at the University of Arts in Belgrade, at the National Superior School of Fine Arts in Paris and Le Mans in France. He has exhibited in prestigious contemporary art galleries, museums and art festivals around the world. Her work has been shown in cities such as New York, London, Basel, Rome, Antwerp, Berlin and Lisbon and others. He currently works at the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Montenegro.
The director of the contemporary art institute "Arkiv", Sislej Xhafa, said that the project consists in researching the global problem of equality. Art has been evaluated as a form of democracy of thought.
"It is the creation of a kind of hybrid between the work of art, because the school itself is a story in itself, as a contemporary art studio. For us it is also a form of new philosophy on how to create an institution as a museum of dynamic contemporary art. We have applied a certain linear philosophy of thought, slowly we have started to engage and think about the participation of international artists", said Xhafa.
The medium that Jovicević used was a new experience for the public, as well as for the staff of the Institute.
"As a young artist, I learned a lot from this whole process about how to curate an exhibition. At the same time I want to express my pleasure to see you here. This means that you are supporting the 'Archive' as an institution of contemporary art that has a special importance for the city of Peja and beyond", said the artist Vita Kasapolli.
The artist Andrra Anadolli also expressed her happiness for the exhibition.
"We are very happy that today we are opening the exhibition of the artist Milena Jovicević, who has a very interesting concept that I believe they will like", she said at the opening of the exhibition.
The art lecturer and artist focused on contemporary art has exhibited her creativity for the first time in Kosovo. With it, the "Archive" institute, just a few weeks before it turns one year since its opening, has proven the seriousness of its mission.
The transformation of the school building into a contemporary art institute, as an initiative of the world-famous artist Sislej Xhafa, was inaugurated in July last year with the exhibition of Artan Hajrullah. At the end of March of this year, the "Siparantum" choir performed Memli Kelmendi's work "Archived Archive". It is expected that from the month of September, the school building belongs only to the "Archive" institute, since the constructions in the new building in the primary and lower secondary school in that part have been completed.
The "Crow" exhibition will remain open until December 30.
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