C19 A20

 

C19 A20 features drawings by ten artists from Kosovo of different generations and cultural backgrounds. This collaboration grew within the confines of the home. The initial stage of producing this online exhibition was conducting oral histories with the artists. The interviews were conducted remotely, which required flexibility and adaptability to create the spaces of trust where the best possible storytelling takes place.

Upon identifying central themes of the lockdown, the artists submitted drawings based on the stories they shared. The artists, in 2020, creatively responded to COVID—19, hence the title C19 A20, resembling a cryptic code, data to decipher and come to terms with. The drawings are snapshots of intimate moments, but also they should be read as historically informative documents that describe challenges faced and overcome, as well as lessons learned.

Read artists’ full stories in the Stories section of the archive.

START EXHIBITION

“The lockdown and these outings to the supermarket to buy things for the family, gave me the feeling of another life. As a person who experienced war twenty years ago, the lockdown reminded me of how close we grew within the family because of the circumstances. We gathered, we decided, we discussed, we hung out, we made jokes as a way to overcome the difficulties. But, the pandemic is something else, the fact that you cannot meet your extended family, signals the necessity of physical distancing.”

An invisible enemy, Artan Hajrullahu

START EXHIBITION

“I decided to make a drawing with interiors, I was studying perspective. This started before the lockdown, but during the process that lasted about three, four months, that drawing became a complete set of different interiors of people locked among themselves.

I never wanted to communicate directly through drawing. Actually, it has happened to me to draw something and then see myself doing that thing after two days. So, it was like prediction and I started with interiors because I was interested in the perspective, but then I started to live in those interiors, but I didn’t want to connect it to the current situation, but it was definitely connected.”

START EXHIBITION

“When I went out to film, this emptiness of the city, without people, there was a dominating presence of it, but, at the same time, it was very, very empty, there was nothing, a post—apocalyptic world. Everything there, it isn’t destroyed, everything is frozen in time. It is very weird. I spent the longest period of my life in Pristina, knowing the urban chaos that we live through, Pristina without people and cars is a little inconceivable.”

A city frozen in time, Doruntina Kastrati

START EXHIBITION

“In the political sphere, I remember very well when the fall of the Kurti Government took place. I was drinking tea and I felt, I don’t know, like there was nothing left, just to put the tea on my head and tie my hands. It was a ship that obviously was going to hit the iceberg, but the problem was that there was no more time, there was no angle to turn the wheel of the ship to change the course, there was nothing! It was obvious, but it was tragic, and it was a tragedy that I saw on the horizon. As a citizen, there wasn’t much you could do, but, in a way, this best described the greed and politics.”

Everything is already here, Driton Selmani

START EXHIBITION

“I don’t know why, but in my work, in this dialogue, I want to find some kind of hope within. I want to look for that hope by force. I am searching for it, I am looking for it, I am looking for it, I am looking for it and all the time I have to force myself to not fall, because I notice that it is a global depression.”

The artist’s way, Fitore Berisha

START EXHIBITION

“In my drawings, I try to visually bring the different elements in a space which becomes a room, even now during the lockdown, I took it to another level, very meta, meta… I was locked up, everyone was locked up, but every work I did seemed like I was so emotionally connected to the current situation, and I was still producing works with interiors. In these rooms, there are new elements added, but I continued the same line of thought.”

Becoming a studio artist, Meriton Maloku

START EXHIBITION

“There are around two hundred houses in the Kolonia neighborhood, and the Municipality of Gjakova provided assistance to only twenty houses, and this assistance was only a sack of flour. It wasn’t much help. When you go to that neighborhood, you either have to have enough for everybody or just not go at all. You have to prepare two hundred care packages, because you can’t help one and not help the other. This creates a way more difficult situation.

While I spent that time helping others, I neglected myself, of course I don’t regret it. I had the will to work. For those who had time, whether or not they’re artists, it was a very good moment to go back and think more about themselves and what they want to do in the future after the pandemic.”

We fear the unknown. The virus is still unknown, Mirjeta Qehaja

START EXHIBITION

Usually, my dreams inspire me because they’re a deeper reflection of everyday life. During lockdown, I would dream about the university spaces, but they were a little different, some very long hallways, I saw people who I hadn’t seen in a very long time. I dreamed of a figure with a black hand and this stuck with me. From that period of time, I started drawing a figure with a black hand that continued to be part of my drawings. I dreamed of cabinets, hallways. The motives were repeated. I noticed that the interiors were developing in my dreams.”

Panic. Panic. Panic., Renea Begolli

START EXHIBITION

“This is not a frontal war as we once had, but a psychological war, a war to find the truth about who you are and who we are and to restart something, hopefully something much better. This is the quarantine of 2020. When we go back to this time after fifteen, twenty years, this lockdown and this way of creating and this world inside, our house will seem interesting to us. The whole globe has gone virtual and we work virtually, we think virtually and we try to live with this lockdown.”

The eye sees differently now, Zake Prelvukaj

START EXHIBITION

“The themes in my work are connected to life, looking at things from a positive angle. My work is mainly, so to say, optimistic, and this work of mine now can’t be as optimistic as it used to be, precisely because everyday life is the way it is. Basically I haven’t changed my life, but this situation, the pandemic has changed it, it has changed the themes of life which I work on.”

The freedom I had, now I have less of it, Dejan Kitić

START EXHIBITION