BIRN Kosovo Launches Exhibition on Media’s Coverage of War

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New exhibition in Pristina demonstrates the central role played by the media in the Kosovo conflict alongside subsequent artistic interpretations.

Photo: BIRN

On June 10, BIRN Kosovo,, Prishtina Biennale and Paper Gallery launched the “Reporting House” exhibition in Pristina, marking 25 years since the end of the Kosovo war. It showcases journalism, photography and media artifacts of the time, positioned alongside contemporary artwork exploring and reflecting on the impact of the war in the decades since.

The exhibition enables visitors to navigate a conflict that simmered through the 1990s, gave birth to the guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army, boiled over into war in 1998-1999 and culminated in 11 weeks of NATO airstrikes leading to the liberation of Kosovo and, in 2008, its independence.

The exhibition displays the first draft of this history, written by journalists, and demonstrates the central role played by the media alongside subsequent artistic interpretations of that history. The public is invited to further its understanding of Kosovo’s extraordinary story, while the exhibition is open to collaboration for its further development.

Open until mid-September, the exhibition presents works by artists of diverse backgrounds and regions, from established names such as Anri Sala (Albania), Adrian Paci (Albania), Goncalo Mabunda (Mosambique), Lala Meredith Vula (UK-Kosovo), Zhana Kadyrova (Ukraine), Lana Cmaijcanin (Bosnia & Herzegovina), Olafur Eliasson (Iceland-Denmark), Laura Imami (UK) and Besa Llugiqi (Kosovo) to emerging artists like Vullnet Jakupi and Vita Kasapolli from Kosovo.

Most of the television archive material and artifacts have been provided by Vaughan Smith of Frontline News Television. The exhibition features 150 television stories from Kosovo between 1992 and 1999 by the BBC, Das Erste (German Public TV), NHK (Japanese public TV), RTE (Irish public TV), EO 2 Vandaag (Dutch public TV), Tele 5 (Spanish TV), Nippon TV, RTK and Frontline Television News, promoting the work of the journalists, photographers, camera operators and local fixers who made them.

Contributors include Jeremy Bowen, Ben Brown, Ilaz Bylykbashi, Thomas Dworzak, Alan Chin, Donika Shahini, Paul Lowe, Max Stahl, Ridvan Slivova, David Loyn, Jehona Lushaku, Besnik Mehmeti, Nik Millard, Andrew Testa, Pal S. Refsdal, Flaka Surroi, Hazir Reka, Marija Ristić, Fred Scott, Eliza Hoxha, Vaughan Smith, Nora Weller, Sean Whelan, Goran Tomasević, Sami Mustafa, Alban Bujari, Linda Gusia, Eki Rrahmani, Gazmend Avdiu,, Srebrenica Memorial Center, Anibar, Koha Ditore, RTK, Production 21, and Oral History Kosovo.

At the opening night, the exhibition welcomed over 300 guests, including Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu – President of the Republic of Kosovo, Edi Rama – Prime Minister of Albania, Perparim Rama – Mayor of Prishtina, Carin Lobbezoo – Dutch Ambassador to Kosovo, Jonathan Hargreaves – British Ambassador to Kosovo, Danijela Barišić – Croatian Ambassador to Kosovo, Tomáš Szunyog – Head of the EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative, Massimo D’Alema – Former Prime Minister of Italy from 1998 to 2000, Nancy E. Soderberg – NDI Kosovo Resident Senior Director, ministers and other representatives of the government of Kosovo, representatives from civil society and distinguished individuals and activists from local and international cultural institutions.

Taking place in three venues – Gërmia Department Store being the main venue, the Great Hammam and Paper Gallery – Reporting House creates a space for contemplation, dialogue, and catharsis, honoring the memory of those affected by the war in Kosovo while advocating for “war-less” ways forward.

The exhibition is produced by Jeta Xharra and curated by Gazmend Ejupi.