"Leading women in focus" with portraits of inspiration and activism

There are more than ten women's profile images. Each of the photographs carries the stories of challenges along the way that make them some of the distinguished figures in society. In the exhibition "Leading women in focus", organized by "Integra", with photographs by Arben Llapashtica and curated by Eliza Hoxha, they take place as portraits of innovative women who express creativity and thoughts outside the box. Outside the patriarchy of society, in the case of Kosovo.

Leaders of different profiles gather on one platform. Attention goes to their looks full of confidence and optimism. They were appreciated as an inspiration and example at the opening of the exhibition at the "Barabar" cultural center in the capital, last Thursday. 

As torches were the ten screens located across the walls of the "Barabar" space in the "Grand" hotel. A silhouette appears from the portraits. Brighten up as you get closer and clear up the images.

"First you see them, they look gloomy from afar, as if in a fog, as if we left them, in oblivion somewhere. When you get close, they light up. The idea is to know them, because we too are enlightened when we know them better and more. It's fantastic to hear their stories, understand how much we can learn from them and be proud of them."

Each picture is highlighted by a yellow bar, positioning everything that is presented in black and white as a background. Difficulties, prejudices and everything else is put aside. It is only their positioning as women leaders, defined as yellow leadership. This virtual strip stands next to the physical one in which a part of the story, inspiration or message from each protagonist is brought.

Former diplomat Teuta Sahatqija, artist Mirjeta Qehaja and Majlinda Kelmendi encourage women to follow their dreams.

The image of the portrait of Feride Rushiti, director of the Kosovo Center for the Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors, looks motivating when the instillation is complete with her words. She calls out to empower victims. On Thursday, when the exhibition was opened, he said that the women protagonists in it have baggage in the promotion of gender equality.

"All these women who are listed in this exhibition, during their activity, have left behind a baggage in addressing and advocating sensitive issues, in particular in the promotion of gender equality. It made me feel good about the fact that this year marks 25 years that we continue to work with survivors of sexual violence, but also with other gender issues so that this cause can be advanced even further."

Journalist Jeta Xharra, human rights activist and contributor to human rights campaigns Hiljminjeta Apuk, political analyst Mimoza Gavrani instruct women to be brave and work hard. Politician and construction engineer, Kaqusha Jashari, with her words placed on the yellow ribbon, invites them to get educated.

The advisor for gender issues at the European Union office, Reyes Charle, said that women in Kosovo are strong and for this they are criticized.

"It is a privilege to be here with all these wonderful women leaders in Kosovo. Many of you are my friends, I have been here a long time and had the privilege of meeting you. When I was trying to create a speech about capacity, leadership, and resilience, I thought, I don't want any of these words. But I soon realized that these words are in the right place here".

The deputy representative of the secretary general of the UNMIK mission in Kosovo, Barrie Lynne Freeman, said that this institution uses its resources to support women and empower them.

“UNMIK is very happy to support this event and will continue to use resources to support and empower women. The women who are exposed in these photographs have left their mark on society, bold and dominant who have challenged the norms of patriarchy and set an example of reaction powerful in public. You are an inspiration to all of us here."

The exhibition "Leading women in focus" is open for one week. It illustrates the importance of standing close to women and understanding their role in society.