Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My name their city

'My name their city'photographs 7 x 80 x 60 cm : The influence nationalist identity politics’ of Albanians of Kosovo have had in the birth of a particular phenomenon of naming children after Albania’s towns; mostly during the 70s and 80s. This is linked to a nationalist idea/dream of unification of all Albanian territories around the border of modern day Albania into a greater ethnic Albania: originally conceived by the League of Prizren in the 19th century, in the second half of the 20th century becoming the main node of a collective fiction and the ideological driving force of a struggle culminating with the independence of Kosovo in the first decade of 21st century. Another factor was the impossibility of Kosovo Albanians to travel to what was felt by them to be the Motherland of their common ethnicity, which only helped foster stronger feelings of nostalgia about the neighboring Albania. For example, siblings that were caught on different sides of the border between the two countries at the time of the ‘closing’ just after WW2, had not been able to unite up until the fall of communist regime in the early 90s. As a legacy of that period, many people are called after Berat, Milot, Saranda, Gjirokastra, Shkodran, Butrint, Vlora, and so on; a self evident custom in Kosovo, but a rather strange one for the locals of these towns in Albania.