Despite their tremendous sacrifice, the contribution and pain of Kosovo women during the war has, for the most part, remained anonymous and unacknowledged. While hundreds of monuments and memorials were erected for Kosovar men, the architectural landscape and the history books have neglected the contribution and sacrifice of women. They remain the unacknowledged anonymous heroines of Kosovo’s history. As such, I wanted to honor each of these anonymous heroines, individually. I needed a huge number to build up this representing heroic face, and I came across a study conducted by the Human Rights Watch. They claimed that there were nearly 20,000 Kosovar women that were raped during the Kosovo war of the late 1990s. Most of these war crimes remain untried, and some of the victims still live with those horrifying memories and scars, everyday and to this day. I took this tragic number of victims, and transformed it into medals. Medals dedicated to each and every woman’s contribution and sacrifice for this country, no matter what age.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
The memorial is constructed by 20,000 medals which are held up by different lengths, which allow creating a relief of the heroine’s portrait. Several unique features characterize this project. First, it is the subject that the project tackles. In an area that is constantly dealing with multiple scars of its past, leaving the plight of women during the war unaddressed can be convenient but is unfair. Second, the unique features of this design are the 20,000 medal pieces that build up the figure, and the message that lies behind them.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The sculpture has a dual perspective, macro and micro. When it is viewed from a near perspective, you can see the individualized portrait medals. And in a far perspective, you see the bigger built up relief from the 20,000 medals. The memorial as a whole, visually reminds you of the pin art game, the 3d portrait is achieved almost in the same manner how the toy works. The different lengths of the medals, depending from the light outside, will create different shadows on the portrait.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
This design was created and submitted for a memorial competition in Prishtina in the autumn of 2013, to serve as a dedication to the sacrifice and contribution of women during the Kosovo war of 1998 until 1999. This proposal won the competition, and it is now in the process of execution and completion. The memorial will be placed in a park in downtown Prishtina, in one of Prishtina’s most central and frequented areas.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
It started with the creation of the portrait in 3d. From that, the framework was finished, and the medals will be created in brass, 20,000 of such. The poles that hold the medals in different lengths will also be made out of brass. The metallic plaque that holds the poles and medals, will be cut in 20,000 holes in CNC, where the poles with medals will be placed, individually.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The overall memorial: Height 5,50m Width 4,5m
sculpture, installation, memorial, women, war, medals, portrait, heroines, kosova
The research was mainly focused on creating a unique yet representative face of Kosovar women. I conducted mostly photographic research, focusing especially on documentary photographs from the Kosovo war. I combined different portraits, and took out the most common features of a Kosovo woman, mixed them together, and created the representative portrait.
I have faced two key interrelated challenges in the process of developing the project. The first one is a conceptual challenge. How does one represent the sacrifice and contribution of all women during the war in one single project? Second, the plight of women during the Kosovo is one of the least researched aspects of the war. Upon researching the topic and reading many reports, I decided to highlight the 20,000 raped Kosovar women mentioned in the Human Rights Watch report, a topic and number that is rarely, if ever discussed in the Kosovo society. Focusing on this unrecognized aspect of the Kosovo war, I deeply believe, that it also highlights the sacrifice of all women during the war.
TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
Ilir Blakçori, Heroinat, 2014