Exhibition for things left behind by children taken from war

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 17, 2019 15:49

Exhibition for things left behind by children taken from war

Story Highlights

  • “Perhaps a game that accompanied coexistence with the war and continues to be reflected in all the remaining items that convey the gentle eyes of the children, which heal and release a ray of hope by making their memory eternal.”

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TIRANA, May 16- How is to see an empty cradle? What about a vest hanging on a wooden pendant? Two sweaters that almost wander in a memory space? How is it to see a pair of almost brand new sneakers, because the one who wears them is no longer there, because they did not let him wear them until torn? What about a sweater inside a mosque, stopped in a moment of eternity? How is it looking at many tearful eyes, the mothers of children who never grew up?

20 years later, the colors of their drawings have faded. The paper of their books, as well. 20 years later, just the image of their portraits hurts all the same. Parents still mourn, but no longer have to feel that this is a dream. They almost never find the power to believe this is just a dream. It's ironic to see a child's list of grades below a clean glass. The child is here no longer, but the list remains. How does human life die faster than a piece of paper that proves that in the ether we feel today, once breathed a daughter or a son.

“Once upon a time” is the natural beginning of every fable. In this case, it is the beginning of a war confession. Under the naive eyesight of our children, a world that does not belong to reality, like fairy tales, is opened to us. Blerta Hoà§ia launches the curatorial text of an exhibition that remembers Kosovo children who never grew up as a fairytale. They would be in their 30s today, but they were killed somewhere, their lives were taken somewhere else, turning their fairy tale into a tragedy. The things they left behind create the slumber of a life torn from the sprout, and their weight in the air passes every pain of pain.

“They were soldiers dressed in the KLA (Kosovo Liberation Army), but they are children, I do not know what the child did that they killed it ... I wish the bullets would have taken me instead of my children, to have been with them instead of seeing their photos here today,” says Mejremja (for ‘Life’ in Kosovo), the mother of one of the children shot, while she sees photographs at the exhibition that reminded 1,133 children killed in the Kosovo war between 1998 and 2000.

“A glass room inside the space contains all the weight of the objects. To remind us that this exhibition can be seen from the children's point of view, these objects are suspended in the tale as dormant inside the box. A seemingly sleepiness of these objects left in the darkness of unconsciousness that arouses personal and collective memory from the need to constantly forget,” curator Hochia noted.

The windshield creates the same sensation as the memories, they are there but you can not touch them. Like the love for those who are no longer, you feel it, but you can not embrace it. Like the longing for ones you no longer have, they are somewhere in your heart, you are talking, scream the pain and love, but in the suspense of the memorial room you receive no answer. The items and outfits here cease to be objects and clothing. They turn into personal stories that accompany the presence of the children themselves. This presence of another dimension, blended with bullets and fairy tales that break suddenly like the glass containing them, carrying all the implied symbolism.

This exhibition comes as an invitation for confrontation and reflection, for dialogue and recovery, to start building a collective memory through these objects and others that will be added in the future. The objects belonging to children remind us of everyday life, monotonous life, the little precious things that we do not always notice. Some of them tell us about a silent game that still continues.

“Perhaps a game that accompanied coexistence with the war and continues to be reflected in all the remaining items that convey the gentle eyes of the children, which heal and release a ray of hope by making their memory eternal,” said exhibition curator Blerta Hocia.

She cares to point out that more than an exhibition, this is a memorial dedicated to children killed and disappeared in the war. Why are memorials made and the ruins of the consequences of serious human rights violations preserved? The answer is clear, they are not just to remind and honor the victims and the survivors, but also to seek the truth. In seeking this truth, the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo is fully committed, and for the creation of this memorial it was discussed with the parents and the relatives of the victims, thus this exhibition expresses their wish to reminisce them through the few things left from an interrupted childhood.

The exhibition was brought by the Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo and supported by NED, Municipality of Prishtina, Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. It was opened on May 13, 2019 at the Kosovo Documentation Center. The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLCK) since 1997 deals with documenting victims of war crimes and other serious violations of human rights. All HLCK activities are in the field of Transitional Justice and contribute to achieving justice for victims, establishing accurate narratives on the war, supporting victims in realizing their right to reparations and educating young people on Transitional Justice . Finally, the HLCK also contributes to the memorialization of the war victims.

Items are all stored by family members, and for many of them, they are the only remaining items they have from their children. With the collection of items and contacts with family members has dealt the Kosovo Humanitarian Law Center. Hocia said it was very difficult for her preparing the exhibition. She added that the theme is very sensitive and painful, but nevertheless she tried this exhibition to convey empathy, and to reflect on the past and make it easier to confront it. Hocia who has a long experience with exhibitions, said she has learned a lot about the war and that period during her research ,and realized that much of that information in Albania has not come either at that time or now.

“It is important to see this as a first step in building a collective memory or a memory museum,” she said.






Tirana Times
By Tirana Times May 17, 2019 15:49