“FemArt 11: Igniting the Flames of Fearlessness and Empowerment-A vibrant celebration of feminism and art, defies boundaries and unites communities, leaving an indelible mark on Kosovo.”
By: Shqipe Malushi
FemArt 11, named “Kalle Tuten” (Burn Your Fear), made a profound impact on Kosovo’s cultural scene. Led by visionary Zana Hoxha, founder and Executive Director of Artpolis, this ground breaking event left its mark on Prishtina and Mitrovica, bridging communities and exceeding expectations.
FemArt 11 challenged patriarchal norms and called for self-reflection, well-being, and equality. Zana Hoxha, a passionate feminist advocate, aimed to unite artists and activists, adding value to the global feminist movement. The event’s success was the result of dedicated teamwork and collaboration.
From dedicated leaders to a diverse array of contributors including staff, volunteers, interns, bloggers, artists, activists, directors, photographers, musicians, DJs, and technicians, each individual played a vital role in the success of FemArt 11. The event attracted national and international guests, as well as an enthusiastic public, adding energy and enthusiasm to the vibrant occasion.
Challenging Societal Norms through Powerful Plays
FemArt 11 showcased a collection of thought-provoking and boundary-pushing plays that left a lasting impact on its audiences. Each production dared to challenge societal norms, sparking critical reflection and inviting viewers to envision a world of freedom and equality.
The festival provided a platform for these remarkable plays, celebrating the resilience and creativity of women. It served as a powerful convergence of art and activism, where theatre became a catalyst for transformation and liberation. FemArt 11 not only entertained but also empowered, leaving an indelible mark on all those fortunate enough to be part of this extraordinary gathering.
“Over 280 international artists and activists transcend boundaries, transforming venues across Pristina and Mitrovica into vibrant stages of empowerment and expression.”
The festival overcame challenges and brought together more than 280 international artists and activists from various parts of the world. Talent from countries such as Albania, Austria, Belgium, Spain, France, Venezuela, Israel, Lebanon, Poland, Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Serbia, and India converged in Prishtina and Mitrovica, transforming these cities into vibrant hubs of empowerment and expression.
Despite the ongoing renovation of the National Theatre in Prishtina, the festival adapted by staging high-calibre plays and performances in alternative venues throughout the city. The Oda and Dodona theatres, Mensa Ramiz Sadiku, Dispensary near QKMF, the National Library, Boxing Club, Kino Armata, and the new National theatre of Kosovo served as dynamic backdrops for showcasing the artists’ craft. In Mitrovica, the City Museum, 7Arte, and ATARAXIA (Mitrovica Rock School) provided spaces for captivating performances.
FemArt 11 presented a captivating program featuring plays, performances, concerts, films, discussion panels, workshops, and the Burn Your Fear Conference on Courageous Living. Over the course of seven days, the cities hosted an impressive line-up of events, showcasing the talents of renowned actors, singers, and performers. The festival’s commitment to promoting artistic expression and amplifying the voices of women was evident, conveying messages of equality, peace, healing, freedom, and love. This celebration of art and activism seemed to transcend the boundaries of Kosovo, ushering in a new era of artistic excellence.
A Catalyst for Social Transformation
The festival unfolded as a spectacular showcase of feminist art across multiple venues. Paintings, sculptures, installations, and performances boldly challenged societal norms, sparking introspection and conversations about the status quo. These fearless creators shattered stereotypes and explored the complexities of gender, identity, and power.
Beyond art, FemArt 11 also featured workshops, panel discussions, and interactive sessions, fostering empowerment and encouraging dialogue among participants. Esteemed speakers shared wisdom, inspiring others to question and dismantle structures that perpetuate inequality. The festival served as a catalyst for change, allowing attendees to envision a world free from gender bias.
A defining moment of FemArt 11 was its bold expansion to Mitrovica, a city divided by conflict. By bridging this divide, the festival symbolically united communities through the transformative power of art, leaving a lasting impression. It demonstrated that art can transcend physical boundaries and foster unity.
FemArt 11 continued to deliver powerful performances and thought-provoking discussions, solidifying its role as a catalyst for change. The festival provided a platform for women’s voices to be heard, recognized, and valued. Its impact extended beyond its closing, inspiring a renewed commitment to equality, justice, and the transformative power of art.
This festival demonstrated the fusion of art and activism, creating a Global Fusion of Art and Activism in Kosovo, sparking a profound transformation in region. It served as a catalyst for equality and empowerment, leaving a lasting legacy. The vibrant performances, engaging discussions, and fearless artistry will continue to resonate, inspiring future generations to challenge societal norms and embrace their unique identities.
Portraying the indomitable spirit of art and activism, transcending limitations and defying expectations. With its diverse array of performances and voices, the festival demonstrated the transformative power of artistic expression to effect change and create a more inclusive world. Kosovo became a stage where the voices of women resounded with strength, resilience, and unwavering conviction, marking a significant milestone in the nation’s artistic landscape.
Unveiling the Depths of Women’s Experiences through “JOGGING”
FemArt 11 broke barriers, uniting people and cultures through art and activism. Focusing on women’s place in society, safety, and freedom from violence, the festival presented often overlooked themes. It aimed to empower women, encouraging self-belief and liberation from decades of fear.
One standout performance was “JUGGING” by Hanane Hajj Ali, a talented actress, author, and activist from Beirut, Lebanon. With support from Abdul Alkafri’s dramaturgy, Wael Kodeih’s sound, Kalabsha and LouLoula Abdel-Baki’s costumes, Sarmad Louis and Rayan Nihavi’s lights, and Eric Deniaud’s direction, the play showcased simplicity and depth.
The story revolved around a middle-aged woman dressed in black, jogging on stage, reflecting her experiences in Beirut, Lebanon. Hanane seamlessly transformed into multiple characters, drawing inspiration from the women she encountered: a middle-aged woman, a mother, an artist, and a citizen. Through jugging, she sought to reconcile her thoughts and experiences, marked by stress and trauma.
Hanane’s monologues, infused with humour, formed an intimate connection with the audience. They were captivated, yearning for more. Blurring the line between personal and professional, Hanane skilfully crafted her storytelling. Weaving in the stories of Medea, who sacrifices her children for love, and a woman with a child battling cancer, Hanane evoked powerful emotions, exploring politics, family, violence, and despair. The audience remained captivated throughout the nearly two-hour-long performance.
In conversation, Hanane’s humility shone through. She emerged as a beautiful artist and passionate activist, sharing stories worldwide to promote peace. Her performance showcased remarkable talent and dedication to amplifying women’s voices and experiences.
Through performances like “JOGGING,” FemArt 11 revealed the depth and complexity of women’s lives. It celebrated storytelling’s power to evoke empathy, understanding, and change. Hanane’s portrayal of various characters challenged societal norms and shed light on women’s struggles globally.
As the curtains closed on FemArt 11, the echoes of these powerful performances continued to reverberate, transcending borders and inspiring change. The festival reignited the flame of resistance and redefined the meaning of freedom, proving that art has the power to challenge, unite, and shape our world.
“Woman & Life” – Challenges Societal Norms with Bold Performance
At FemArt 11, amidst a multitude of captivating plays, a few productions stood out as remarkable testaments to the power of theatre. One such production was “Woman & Life” from Poland, written by Malina Perześluga and directed by Piotr Łukaszczyk. The talented ensemble, including Anna Błaut, Anna Kozłowska, Ewelina Paszke-Lowitzsch, Katarzyna Pietruska, Jolanta Solarz-Szwed, Magdalena Taranta, Krystzof Boczkowski, Albert Pyśk, Dominik Smaruj, and Christian Talik, brought the play to life.
Inspired by the women’s protests in Poland during 2020, where the government imposed stringent controls, “Woman & Life” illuminated their unwavering determination for freedom. The stage burst with vibrant colours as the performers embodied the spirit of rebellion. They recited slogans, poetry, and powerful statements, clamouring for liberation from societal expectations and obligations, and seeking emancipation from cultural, religious, and political roles.
The actors delivered emotionally charged performances, channelling simmering anger. In a pivotal moment, they shed their clothes, standing naked on stage, embracing their true selves and challenging societal norms. Their vulnerability was met with a silent and empowering response from the audience, allowing the performers to reclaim their autonomy.
The play concluded with a unifying force as the ensemble came together in song, expressing hope for transformative change. With clear subtitles enabling full immersion, the performance was a breath of fresh air, defying conventions and pushing boundaries.
“FemArt 11: Unconventional Collaboration Challenges Societal Expectations”
In a unique collaboration, the play “Superfluous Man-Oblomov” from Israel captivated the audience at FemArt 11. The performance began outside the Oda theatre, where the Artistic Resident Troupe of Artpolis shared poignant narratives about the challenges faced by both women and men. The Israeli actors, including Adam Gabay, Shira Naor, Vladimir Friedman, Alon Barel, Bar Sade, and Eduard Shprochman, arrived in striking red costumes, emanating regal presence.
Inside the hall, the audience passed by a young girl dressed in white, calm and sleeping. Directed by Yehezkel Lazarov, the drama featured Oblomov, a male character who symbolized total indifference in personal and social life. He represented the laziness and irresponsibility, impossible to find motivation to even get out of bed. Unaware of his surroundings, he lacked ambition and responsibility, raising the central question: Is it up to Oblomov, with his purposeless existence, to live or die?
Despite its weighty theme, the play approached it with a light touch, infusing freshness and an unconventional way of living. The actors brought their characters to life with playfulness and nuance, challenging societal norms and prompting the audience to question expectations placed on individuals.
“Superfluous Man-Oblomov” offered a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition, delving into purpose, responsibility, and the consequences of disengagement. It defied conventions, providing a fresh perspective on existence and prompting introspection.
With dimmed lights and resounding applause, “Superfluous Man-Oblomov” successfully challenged preconceived notions and sparked conversations. It exemplified the power of collaboration, artistry, and theatre’s ability to inspire introspection.
FemArt 11 continued to break barriers, presenting unconventional narratives that urged audiences to contemplate the complexities of the human experience. It celebrated artistic diversity and its capacity to ignite conversations and drive change
“BIBA MAY: A Documentary of Resilience Premieres at FemArt 11”
In the midst of FemArt 11 festival, the documentary film “Biba May: No More,” directed by Arlinda Morina-Liki, premiered at the 7Arts space in Mitrovica. The film shares the inspiring story of Biba May, a wheelchair-bound woman who defies challenges and pursues her dreams with unwavering determination.
Despite the rainy weather, the audience eagerly attended the premiere at the 6th-floor venue in Mitrovica, which lacked wheelchair accessibility. However, the Artpolis team swiftly constructed a ramp within three days, exemplifying their commitment to inclusivity. Biba, traveling from Prizren, emotionally connected with the audience, expressing her aspirations and advocating for a rehabilitation centre for individuals with different abilities in Prizren.
The diverse audience, including Mitrovica activists, was warmly welcomed by Valdete Idrizi, the Director of Culture for the Municipality of Mitrovica. In a delightful twist, Valdete introduced herself as Zana Hoxha, and Zana introduced herself as Valdete, fostering laughter and camaraderie. Rona Nishliu, a renowned jazz singer who represented Albania at Eurovision, added further richness to the evening.
The documentary screening not only showcased Biba May’s personal journey but also emphasized the importance of accessibility and inclusivity. Biba’s resilience and determination left a lasting impact on the audience, demonstrating the power of storytelling to inspire change and understanding.
FemArt 11 once again proved its commitment to diverse narratives and meaningful dialogue. Through “Biba May: No More,” the festival championed women’s voices and advocated for social change. Biba May’s story ignited hope and called for a more inclusive society, resonating deeply with the audience.
As the premiere ended, the applause echoed, affirming the enduring power of the human spirit. Biba May’s journey became a catalyst for activism, fostering a collective commitment to creating a more inclusive and accessible Kosovo for all.
“Soli Kapadia’s Enchanting Concert Casts a Spell at FemArt 11”
Renowned composer and singer Soli Kapadia from India, accompanied by guitarist Erhan Mujka, delivered a mesmerizing performance that transcended boundaries and united hearts at FemArt 11. With over 4,000 concerts to his name, Soli Kapadia captivated the audience with his soul-stirring voice, aiming to heal hearts and spread love through his music.
Throughout the concert, Soli Kapadia fostered an atmosphere of joy and elation, encouraging active participation from the audience. Their voices blended harmoniously with his, creating a deep connection between the artist and listeners, making everyone feel seen and included.
The highlight of the evening came when Soli Kapadia performed the Kosovo national anthem in Albanian. The power of his rendition moved the audience to their feet, establishing an immediate connection. His talent and charisma left an indelible impression on the hearts of all who experienced his gift.
Following the concert, attendees gathered for a networking dinner where Director of Culture Valdete Idrizi was honored for her role in facilitating connections and shared experiences among guests. The evening concluded with a sense of unity and camaraderie as individuals from diverse backgrounds came together, bonded by the universal language of music.
Soli Kapadia’s concert at FemArt 11 embodied the festival’s spirit by transcending borders, cultures, and languages. His heartfelt performance reminded us of the power of music to bridge divides and create a shared experience of joy and harmony. Soli Kapadia’s gentle and open approach touched the hearts of many, establishing him as a true maestro and a source of inspiration for all.
“Burn Your Fear Conference: Uniting Courageous Activists for Women’s Empowerment”
The conference was a gathering of fearless feminist activists dedicated to combating the fears, obstacles, and challenges faced by women in times of war and its aftermath. These activists aimed to build peace, heal wounds, and support one another through trauma. The conference provided a platform for sharing experiences, discussing various forms of activism, reflecting on failures and successes, and providing recommendations for progress.
The conference began with an opening speech by His Excellency Olivier Guèrot, the Ambassador of France in the Republic of Kosovo, followed by inspiring words from Zana Hoxha. Panel discussions throughout the event explored different aspects of feminist activism, empowerment, and resilience.
The first panel discussion, “Empowering Women to Overcome Stereotypes in Art and Cultural Decision-Making,” featured diverse panellists from various professional backgrounds. They passionately shared their journeys of rising and overcoming challenges, emphasizing the importance of strengthening one’s inner self to face external challenges.
The second panel discussion, “Peace and Security: Overcoming Fear and Building Resilient Communities,” brought together long-standing activists who have tirelessly worked to establish peace and safety in their respective regions. They recounted moments from war and exile, highlighting the power of small acts to bring relief and hope amidst pain and fear.
The final panel discussion, “Breaking Stigma: Mental Health and Wellbeing in Challenging Times,” focused on the critical topic of mental health and wellbeing. Panellists emphasized the importance of mental health support in sports, particularly for female athletes.
Throughout the conference, these powerful women shared captivating stories, reflections, and memories, showcasing their struggles and triumphs. Their discussions sparked meaningful suggestions and fostered strong networking ties, promising future collaborations for positive change.
The “Burn Your Fear Conference” served as a testament to the resilience and determination of feminist activists, reminding us that when fearless individuals unite, they can overcome barriers, challenge norms, and pave the way for a more inclusive and just society.
“Rina Kaçinari and the Jazz Spectacle: A Majestic Finale to FemArt 11th. The Queen of Jazz Captivates the Audience with a Mesmerizing Performance”
The closing ceremony of FemArt 11th concluded with a mesmerizing performance by Rina Kaçinari, the renowned Queen of Jazz. Accompanied by her talented trio featuring Jorg Mikula on drums and percussion from Austria, and Carles Munõz Camarero on cello and vocals from Spain and special guest appearance by The Women’s Choir “Okarina,” Rina’s presence on stage was captivating. Dressed in a vibrant gown, she effortlessly commanded the audience’s attention, showcasing her mastery of jazz and delivering a spectacular performance.
Throughout the evening, Rina’s enchanting voice and the skilful interplay among the musicians created an electric atmosphere. Singing in multiple languages, she shared stories that added depth and meaning to her music. The highlight of the night was the closing song, “Burn Your Fear,” which resonated deeply with the audience and received a standing ovation.
Attendees were in awe of the spectacle, with one remarking on the uniqueness of the performance. Rina’s stage presence, impeccable vocals, and harmonious collaboration with the musicians left a lasting impression on everyone present.
Rina Kaçinari’s closing performance at FemArt 11th perfectly encapsulated the festival’s celebration of women’s art, activism, and empowerment. Her musical prowess and magnetic stage presence served as a reminder that music and art have the power to transcend barriers and inspire change.
FemArt 11th was a remarkable and enriching edition, featuring diverse and impactful performances that contributed to the festival’s high quality and meaningful content.
Notable plays included “Fefu and Her Friends” from Kosovo, which explored the confessions of women burdened by the patriarchal system; “Five Kinds of Silence” from Slovenia, which delved into a family tragedy; and “Sober” from Kosovo, depicting a woman’s journey of overcoming addiction.
Other highlights included “Olympe et Moi” from France, recounting the story of a courageous woman; “La Chika,” uniting France and Venezuela through music; and Patric Mons’ workshop on memory loss and stage performance.
Mimozë Sahiti’s art exhibition, “Status,” curated by Albert Heta, offered thought-provoking visual expressions. theatre performances like “Women” and “Girls” challenged societal prejudices, while “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” and “Ka Me Kalu” unfolded dramatic narratives.
The award-winning film “Vera Dreams of the Sea” shed light on the struggles of a single mother, and the theatre performance “Molly” transported audiences to an Irish village. The vibrant drag show “VAV-Vibrate Authentic Victory” celebrated pop culture.
The FemArt Mitrovica Closing Concert showcased local talents, while the festival as a whole left a lasting impression of hope, courage, and friendship.
Special thanks were extended to Zana Hoxha, the ArtPolis team, the Artist Resident Troupe of Artpolis, bloggers Ivana Lux and Roman, volunteers led by Blerza Krasniqi, and Diellza Gojani for the festival’s artistic cover design.
FemArt 11th will be cherished for its creativity, high-quality programming, and the courage to address societal trauma through art. It brought unforgettable moments, forged new friendships, and ignited hope for a future filled with art and passion.
FemArt 11 sparked a profound transformation in Kosovo. It served as a catalyst for equality and empowerment, leaving a lasting legacy. The vibrant performances, engaging discussions, and fearless artistry will continue to resonate, inspiring future generations to challenge societal norms and embrace their unique identities.
As the event concluded, its impact extended far beyond the venues. The spirit of fearlessness ignited by FemArt 11 inspired attendees to embrace their power, confront their fears, and stand strong in the face of adversity. The festival provided a platform for marginalized voices and celebrated feminism.