Haverstock Series: Interview with Alketa Xhafa Mripa

Haverstock Journalism Club


Haverstock is a co-educational school in Camden Town, North London. Producing political heavyweights including the likes of Ed Miliband, it is not a school that should be cantankerously dismissed. Students are engaged, well informed and mean business. This is the latest in a series of contributions from their students.


The artist, Alketa Xhafa-Mripa was travelling last summer from Croatia, to Calais and saw refugees on the side of the main road waiting to travel by truck to the UK.

The haunting images of people clamouring to board the lorries inspired the concept of her, ‘Refugees Welcome’ project an art installation, in the form of a  British living room – on the back of a truck.

Alketa-Refugees-Welcome-1-c-Blerim-Racaj

She told us:

‘What I wanted visually was for audiences to see that room and also see the welcome.

The truck is going to travel through the whole of the UK. By the end of June I will go to the places where the vote for BREXIT was huge. I am going to welcome those people inside the truck. I want to ask them; ‘Why?’

Alketa’s last project Thinking of You pays tribute to the estimated 20,000 women who were found to have been the victims of the Kosovo conflict, where rape was used as a weapon of war. More than 5000 dresses were donated by the public, including pop star Rita Ora and the President of Kosovo. The art installation was showcased on a football stadium because football is considered a “male dominated playground”.

We wondered, what went through her mind when she was creating the project?

Alketa: So many emotions running all over my mind during this project because it is the most important project I have ever done, because of whom it is dedicated to and going through all that pain that those women went through. Hearing their stories I was very honoured, but it was a very big weight to carry and very beautiful in the most simple way.

Alketa believes that visualising the issues of humanity is important because art has no boundaries and everyone understands it.

Alketa’s art is inspired by everyday life.

Alketa: Maybe the next one is about planet climate change and the next one after about domestic violence. It is always about taboos, I use those subjects for my art.

We enquired does she feel her work has an impact on human rights?

Alketa: I want socially for Society to be aware. So definitely. Yes.

If more people were like Alketa there would be better empathy in the world and more respect for individuals as Alketa explained, she gives through her work: A voice for the voiceless.

 

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