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August 30, 2019

FEMART – Festival of Artists and Activists that raises significant matters and breaks taboos

The Festival with its motto “Freedom VS Shame” disclosed for seven consecutive days in Prishtina exclusive stories, extraordinary performances, attractive workshops, essential conferences and exciting and rhythmic concerts, delivering various subjects and entertaining the participants of the seventh edition of the FemArt Festival which was held in Pristina from the 10 th through the 16 th of June. It all commenced at Grand Hotel in Prishtina. A left behind sort of building, on the 10 June turned into a hosting place gathering artists, activists, citizens and media for a great event. The seventh edition of the FemArt Festival was launched exactly at that particular place.

Within the walls of Grand Hotel of Prishtina a bitter truth has been hiding, which got revealed to the citizens exactly on the 10th of June. The pain became even greater. It was precisely at this Grand Hotel the place where many Kosovan victims were tortured, raped and abused during the wartime in Kosovo. The Artist Eliza Hoxha joined her forces with the artistic and activist festival FemArt, and together they opened an exhibition in the framework of the festival titled "Be My Face".

Artist Eliza Hoxha, who has often been a voice against the violence that occurred in Kosovo, together with FemArt, brought forth the exhibition which received the attention of the media and took their lead. An exhibition that brought tears to the eyes of the public, set confessions on transparent frames. All of these confessions were situated precisely in the area where those crimes were committed. “Freedom VS Shame” was this year’s festival motto. This motto followed all participants for seven days. And the Canon (Albanian Kanuni) could not be absent with this motto. This theme that follows us throughout life was also treated in FemArt, by the director Arlinda Morina. She brought the extraordinary performance of the “Woman's Canon”. While the Dutch artist Judith De Leeuv, known as "JDL street art", featured a mural entitled "Rise and Fall". This mural shows the cycle that never ends with women who prevail and fall and then rise again. A story that never ends. With her piece of art the artist aims to pass a massage to the students who pass by and see this mural, that they should be able to believe that they can do anything, even if it means doing a job that is considered exclusively for men.

Another wonderful performance came under the Hungarian director Veronika Szabo. "Queendom", which appeared at the Oda Theater. It presented the image of the woman from the Renaissance to this day. This show was premiered in Hungary last year and it came in Kosovo through FemArt, and it disclosed the pathway of different women in different periods and situations. FemArt, in its seventh edition brought also poetry and discussion panels, which make an important part of the festival. With this motto in mind, even this discussion panels debated about the subject of violence experienced during the war time in Kosovo. FemArt once again paid a special relevance to all those women and men who lost pieces of themselves, pieces of life. The media, which play an important role in this field, appeared in one of the panels where they talked about fighting the stigma through media and arts.

The public had the chance to “travel” through “FemArt 7” and experience the excitements of over 30 activities, which were organized in different locations, institutions and cultural centers, such as: Oda Theater, National Theater of Kosovo, National Library “Pjetër Bogdani”, National Gallery, Kosovo Museum, ICK, Faculty of Arts, etc. 2 conferences with 6 panels within the conferences, 1 mural inauguration, 4 theatrical performances - one premiere, 3 discussion panels, 2 artistic performances, 1 poetic evening, 2 exhibitions - one sale exhibition for fundraising for charity, 1 presentation, 3 workshops, 1 master class, 1 “after party” and 2 grand concerts were held in these centers and cultural institutions.

In addition to some 200 artists and activists from Kosovo, the region, Europe, America, Asia and Africa, the festival engaged 30 young and new volunteers from all communities in Kosovo in order to raise youth participation in the issue of strengthening the role of Kosovo and the regional women, in sharing their own experiences.