July 9, 2018 | Monday
“We are an artists collective belonging to the streets”. This is one of the statements said at the EUICC this week, when HAVEIT – an artists collective comprised of two pair of sisters came together to talk in front of the audience.
Hana Qena and Alketa Sylaj from HAVEIT sat down to share their experiences and their future vision. The collective is known for their provocative performances and interventions, naming here the famous kiss on the occasion of Valentine’s Day back in 2014, ‘Jepi me goje’ in Tirana or the billboards in reference to the victims of domestic violence in Kosovo.
HAVEIT has been threatened many times, but always having in mind that what they do goes against the patriarchal system.
“When we were threatened after we posted on Facebook the photo of all four of us kissing each other, to sort of tell the story that on Valentine’s Day the same sex love is being discriminated and rejected, the Police thought we were funny and they wanted us to delete the picture from social media. At that point we had death threats, but also immense support from people who understood and embraced the message” said Hana Qena during the artistic talk on the 3rd of July.
What triggered the group to come together was the murder of Diana Kastrati.
On May 18, 2011, Diana Kastrati, a 27-year old student on her way to university, was shot dead in Prishtina, Kosovo’s capital, at about 10 am. The perpetrator was Adnan Jashari, her ex-husband of 10 years. HAVEIT decided to take an action. To illustrate the problem of water and power shortages, girls afterwards washed in hands towels in the fountain near the National Theater in Kosovo. Another performance confronts us with Kanun, a very famous traditional book that regulated for years different matters in Kosovo. HAVEIT cooked the book by telling the audience how unimportant the book should be in today’s society.
“Our artistic works come to life very fast, because otherwise we are just another group of people complaining about problems. We always had tough opinions regarding life in Kosovo and we wanted these problems to be addressed somewhere in a more creative way” says Alketa Sylaj.
Stepping out of their bubble, the collective has covered many areas of the Balkans and Europe with their work, from places like Tirana to Sweden, Skopje to Ljubljana, and Milan.