ERIAC collaborates with Autostrada Biennale to showcase Roma contemporary arts in Kosovo

  • The third edition of the contemporary art fair – Autostrada Biennale, launches today in Prizren, Kosovo
  • The exhibition will feature the installation ‘HERSTORIES’ by Polish-Roma artist Malgorzata Mirga-Tas and Roma artist and activist Edis Galushi
  • The installation features a series of large-format textile portraits of extraordinary Romani women created in collaboration with local Roma community members and is exhibited on the facade of a house in Prizren

The contemporary art exhibition, Autostrada Biennale, will launch its third edition on 17 July in Prizren, Kosovo. Created to bring art into people’s lives with a focus on leveraging public spaces, this year, the exhibition will feature Romani artist Malgorzata Mirga-Tas’s work – ‘HERSTORIES’.

As part of the installation, Mirga-Tas worked with Romani artist and activist Edis Galushi and the local Roma community in Prizren to decorate a house with portraits of Romani women role models using textiles.

‘HERSTORIES’ raises questions such as ‘How do power relations relate to representation?’ ‘What is the place of traditional art within the canon of contemporary art?’ ‘What does minority feminism in a traditional community look like?’ In the words of Mirga-Tas:

“Based on many years of experience working with the Roma communities in Roma settlements, I have noticed that Roma women are gradually emancipating themselves from the patriarchal structures. More and more Roma women are active, they strive for change, they fight for education for their children, they want to have their voice heard in the usually very traditional Roma environment.”

The portraits were created from fragments of different fabrics, many taken directly from the wardrobes of the women depicted. From bits of skirts, scarves, shirts, curtains, drapes, bedclothes or rags, the materials employed in the works carry traces of life and history. Curtains formed the underlying architecture of the portraits and the visual basis for the creation of feminist narratives.

Portraits of the following Roma women were created as part of the installation:

Shpresa Agushi, Gjilan/Gnjilane, Women’s Rights Advocate

Nicoleta Bitu, Bucharest, Community Activist

Zinet Galushi, Prizren, Homemaker

Delaine Le Bas, London, Artist

Esma Redžepova, Skopje, Singer & Humanitarian

The artwork will be visible throughout the Autostrada Biennale, which officially kicks off today.

An Artist Talk with Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, Edis Galushi, and curator Joanna Warsza will take place on Sunday, 18 July at 4pm (CET).

To view the full schedule of opening events, click here.

ERIAC as part of the Proud Roma Free Europe campaign, in collaboration with Opre Roma Kosovo, is proud to be a partner of Autostrada Biennale to support the participation of Roma in the contemporary art fair in Kosovo.


HERSTORIES installation at the Autostrada Biennale. Images credit @Tughan Anit