Artpolis–Centre for Art and Community, organized the sixth edition of FemArt Festival from 25 to 30 May 2018. FEMART—Festival of Women Artists and Activities, gathers hundreds of women artists and activities from across the world, which exhibit their creative works through: Theatre shows, movies (documentaries, short and feature films), exhibitions, shows, concerts, speeches, workshops, discussion panels, and various art presentations. Under “YOU LEAD” moto, FemArt encouraged sustainability and solidarity for women and men whose fundamental rights are violated due to their ethnicity, race, sexual preferences, and social position.
FEMART Festival artistic program addressed many various topics, including: human rights and feminist movements, sexual right and reproductive health, transitional justice and peace building, LGBTQI+ rights, women’s empowerment, violence against women, including promotion of women’s successful regional and global stories.
The festival is a platform for developing and presenting ideas and creative works which bring forward feminist concepts and their development in Kosovo, thus engaging in seeking equal rights for women and serve as a bridge for peace building and dialogue in the region.
“Women’s Virtual Museum” took place on 28 May in the framework of this edition. This museum, which appears as a digital entity that takes the characteristics of a museum, plays a more important role in promoting the value of peaceful activism held by women who protect human rights. This museum, the first one of its kind in Kosovo, is an interactive platform that showcases inspirational and life stories, photographs, and videos of women activists.
Activists–Safete Rogova, Igballe Rogova, Lepa MlaÄ‘enoviÄ‡, Tatjana NikoliÄ‡, Fjolla Vukshinaj, More Raça and Manushaqe Nura–panelists, shared their stories of how they started their activism journey. During this event, Lepa MlaÄ‘enoviÄ‡, activist from Serbia, said, “I feel very happy and excited that I am in Prishtina among these fantastic feminists.” She paid particular attention to Sevdije Ahmeti’s yearlong contribution.
Furthermore, Igballe Rogova, Executive Director of Kosovo Women’s Network (KWN) told stories about their activism during ‘90.
“We and Safete have worked at Motrat Qiriazi association in ‘90, and we included men and boys right from the outset, because we knew that we cannot bring about change in Has if we work only with women; we should work together to change this society,” she said. Rogova emphasized that solidarity among women was the greatest support at that time, because being an activist was not easy back then and is not easy today, either.
Activist and renowned actor Safete Rogova said that it is impossible to speak about activism and feminism without mentioning Sevdije Ahmeti and her yearlong work. The panel went on with extraordinary stories of activists. The attendees were given the opportunity to ask various questions.
Conference “Justice for Women Killed in Kosovo” was held on 29 May. Speakers in this conference were: Atifete Jahjaga, Igballe Rogova, Annete M. Faith-Lihc, Sevdije Morina, Linda Sanaj, Hilmi Jashari, Vjosa Osmani, Valdete Idrizi, and Arbërie Nagavazi. The conference was moderated by Ariana Qosaj-Mustafa. Former President Atifete Jahjaga opened the conference stating that she is disappointed with the relevant institutions which are failing to timely hand-cuff, bring to the bench, and punish the perpetrators of these criminal offenses.
“It saddens me to recall the women who lost their lives in Kosovo over the last months and years due to violence perpetrated against them”, Ms. Jahjaga said. She added that it is unfortunate for the society and the country that women in Kosovo do not feel safe in their houses yet.
Vice Chief State Prosecutor, Sevdije Morina, emphasized that violence against women goes underreported. Morina added that justice system should not play a conciliatory or intermediary role, and should not impose heavy punishment on women who kill their abusing men in self-defense.
“There are cases where a woman kills her husband, but these cases usually happen after yearlong abuse that their husband has caused them. These cases pose issues, too. When a women kills her partner after suffering continuous abuse, she must be treated differently, which is something we have not done, because judges and prosecutors need to be educated and trained”, she said.
Igballe Rogova spoke about a case for which institutional support had been sought, but such request had been rejected.
“I know a woman who is in Lipjan, who had been violated for two years in row, and killed her husband in self-defense. Do you know her imprisonment term? 30 years! Although we have requested several times to reduce the years of her imprisonment, but this never happened”, she said.
Rogova recalled the case of Diana Kastrati, who was killed by her husband as a result of institutions neglecting to provide a protection order, despite subsequent requests.
Among others, Rogova harshly criticized Prime Minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj, who promotes the Canun. She commented, “Gun shooting should be OK, then, since Canon allows it”.
The conference continued with debates during which the participants were given the opportunity to ask questions.
This year, the festival marked over 40 events in Pristina, Ferizaj and North Mitrovica. For more detailed information about the participants and the program you can click on the website www.femart-ks.com or on the FemArt Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FemartPrishtina/
This edition of FemArt was supported by donors, media sponsors and various institutional partners.