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Spectacular Recognition for Kosovo* at the 60th Venice Biennale Amid Strong Balkan Presence

The 60th Venice Biennale showcases a compelling array of artistic expressions from the Balkans, with Kosovo receiving special accolades for its poignant installation

At the 60th Venice Biennale, Kosovo* has emerged as a standout participant, receiving special recognition for Doruntine Kastrati’s sculpture installation, “Resonating Silence of Metal and Leather.” Curated by Eremire Krasniqi and overseen by Commissioner Hana Halilaj from the National Gallery of Kosovo, the exhibition tackles gender disparities in labour and the precarious nature of work in the post-war “light” industries of Kosovo* since 1999.

Kastrati’s work, inspired by the experiences of 12 female workers from a Turkish delight factory in her native city of Prizren, reflects on the physical toll of standing work, with nearly a third of these women undergoing knee replacement surgeries. The installation comprises metallic sculptures modeled after the nutshells used in Turkish delights, symbolically representing the separation and struggles of the working-class women, a poignant tribute to their personal narratives.

“Resonating Silence of Metal and Leather.” Curated by Eremire Krasniqi, Photo: mkrs-ks.org

Elsewhere in the Biennale, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s presence is marked by Šejla Kamerić’s independently created piece, “Cease,” set up near the Church of Saint Stephen. The sculpture, featuring a red column and a white flag set against a minimalist backdrop, carries a political message of peace and reflects on the divided nature of post-Dayton Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Croatia’s contribution comes from Vlatka Horvat with the project “By Makeshift Means,” displayed in the renovated former carpentry workshop of Fàbrica 33. The exhibition emphasizes the exchange of art between diaspora communities and relies on improvised methods of transportation, including personal networks of friends and acquaintances acting as informal couriers.

Serbia is represented by Aleksandar Denić’s “Exposition Coloniale,” a critique of colonial legacies in contemporary society. The Serbian pavilion, even before its official opening, was listed as a must-see at this year’s Biennale.

Montenegro’s offering comes from Darja Bajagić, focusing on the island and former camp of Mamula with her project, “An Island is Needed for Such a Good Feeling.” Meanwhile, North Macedonia showcases Slavica Janešlieva’s “Inter Spem et Metum,” and Slovenia’s Nika Špan presents “A Garden Secret for You,” adding to the rich tapestry of Balkan art at the event.

The 60th Venice Biennale continues to be a focal point for examining pressing global and regional issues through the lens of powerful, evocative art.

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