The Kosovo sisters kissing in public to fight conservatism


Jepi me goje photo by Dardan Zhegrova

Kosovo isn’t big in the art world. Though deep set in its traditional and religious ideologies it offers a talking point for the day-to-day issues that often surround these beliefs. Just like many other parts of the world, the self-declared independent country has its fair share of disputes – from the oppression of women in an essentially Albanian society, to LGBT discrimination, nationalism, and a string of local controversies including water and power shortages. These topics have shown a lack of support when it comes to the government and organisations wanting to make a change.

In a hope to help tackle these problems are the all-female collective, Haveit. A group consisting of two sets of sisters from the country’s capital of Prishtina. Hana and Vesa Qena along with Lola and Alketa Sylaj make up this rebellious project. Using performance, protest and video installation as the backbone to their charged work, their artistic expression often poses frightening risks in what is still seen as a predominantly conservative society.

Faced with a strong public divide the group are often subject to death threats, conspiracy theories, and ridicule from parts of the community, but this hasn’t left a bad taste in their mouth and, if anything, feeds their creative hunger. “It makes us work harder because if we were afraid we wouldn’t do this in the first place – we know where we live,” say Haveit. Like any collective fighting for social justice and gender equality, there will always be people who disagree, and Haveit would be the first to tell you.

To read the full feature on Dazed please click here.


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