Małgorzata Mirga-Tas’s studio

We visited Mirga-Tas’ studio with the camera just before her departure to Kosovo. We had the opportunity to watch her give the final touches to works that were later shown at the Autostrada Biennale. This remarkable young biennial was founded in 2014 and is a two-speed “highway”: an open biennial, which of course we can see every two years (Mirga-Tas is participating in the third iteration) and a permanent KFOR institution, where artists’ residencies take place and the process of preparing the exhibition is open to the public, making the creation of artworks a form of learning and critical thinking. This time, curators Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu and Joanna Warsza made “incompletion” the starting point of the biennale and its slogan became a question – “What if the journey…”. The time of the pandemic affected us all and everyone had their “unfinished business” through it. As the curators write: “What if the journey… is an exhibition about the two ends of the road that meet between host and guest, between diaspora and local, between infrastructure and intimacy. What if the journey… is also an exhibition about art as a way out of everyday traps. The exhibition will take you on a journey that starts in the centre of Pristina, continues along the Lumbardhi River in Prizren, and ends in an art bar in Peja. (…) “As long as there is a journey, there is hope,” says Valbona Zherka, an artist whose work has too often been marginalised in the past.(…) The Third Autostrada Biennale is an invitation to an incomplete journey in which art and survival are an emergency kit to travel to the present, to and from Kosovo – to Berlin, Istanbul, Warsaw and back. Or somewhere in between.”


Małgorzata Mirga-Tas, together with a Roma activist Edis Galushim and members of the Prizren Roma community, covered a building with large-format portraits of remarkable Roma women, known both locally and internationally. Mirga-Tas’s collages are made from fragments of various fabrics: many of the fabrics come directly from the wardrobes of the women depicted and consist of pieces of skirts, scarves or shirts sewn onto curtains, drapes, bedding or rags. The materials used by the artist literally carry history, traces of life and use along with their energy. The canvases become the architectural basis of the artworks and at the same time the visual basis for creating feminist narratives. “Based on years of experience working with Roma communities in Roma settlements, I have noticed that Roma women are gradually emancipating themselves from patriarchal structures. More and more Roma women are active, they strive for change, they fight for education for their children, they want their voice to be heard in the usually very traditional Roma environment.” Mirga-Tas’s work raises many questions key for our times, including the crucial one: ‘What does minority feminism look like in a traditional community? Can there be mutual acculturation, and if so, how can the majority learn from the minority?” Finally, can working on identity, especially one rooted in the experience of injustice, be an affirmative and emancipatory strategy rather than a reductionist, isolating one?” The women featured in the artwork are : Shpresa Agushi Gnjilane -Advocate for Women’s Rights; Nicoleta Bitu – social activist from Bucharest; Zinet Galuszi – housewife from Prizren; Delaine Le Bas – artist from London; Esma Redzepova – legendary artist, singer from Skopje; Anonymous – representing all Roma women.


3rd Autostrada Biennale What If a Journey…

curators: Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu and Joanna Warsza Prisztina – 1.07.21-11.09.21

Prizren – 17.07.21-11.09.21

Peja – 19.07.21-11.09.21

Jedna myśl w temacie “Małgorzata Mirga-Tas’s studio”

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