Sunday, June 16, 2024

Thinking of You – The Hague 2024

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Art Installation by conceptual artist Alketa Xhafa Mripa in support of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence

Location: The Hague City Hall, 03-28 June 2024 & Lange Voorhout, 18-23 June 2024

In June 2024, The Hague City Hall and the Lange Voorhout will be festooned with washing lines full of dresses donated by survivors of sexual violence in conflict and their supporters.

This landmark public art installation by the internationally recognized conceptual artist Alketa Xhafa Mripa will be a powerful homage to survivors of sexual violence in conflict worldwide. The artist created the installation in collaboration with the Mukwege Foundation, the Embassy of Kosovo in the Netherlands, and the Municipality of The Hague.

Together, through this installation, we are calling to draw a Red Line to end conflict-related sexual violence.

The Embassy of Kosovo in The Hague collaborates with Alketa Xhafa-Mripa to bring the art installation “Thinking of You” to the city, emphasizing Kosovo’s quest for justice and raising awareness of wartime atrocities.

Survivors SEMA Ukraine-Thinking of You

Introducing Thinking of You

The artist initially conceived the concept in response to the ongoing traumatization and social exclusion of survivors of sexual violence from the 1999 war in her native Kosovo. The first Thinking of You exhibition (Prishtina, 2015) was held in the football stadium in the capital of Kosovo, receiving international acclaim and attention.

Alketa has aimed to take this installation to other countries and to collaborate in solidarity with survivors of conflict-related sexual violence around the world. Since its initial launch in Kosovo and subsequent installations, Thinking of You has become a global symbol of remembrance and solidarity with survivors of sexual violence.

Alketa Xhafa-Mripa’s art delves into personal and universal themes encompassing motherhood, women, gender relations, memory, and the body. Through mediums like films, installations, paintings, and photography, she explores personal and collective experiences. Alketa, a Kosovar-born artist residing in London, brings a unique perspective shaped by her experiences as a refugee during the Kosovo War. Her work is deeply rooted in feminist values, advocating for vulnerable communities, particularly survivors of sexual violence and wartime rape. Collaboration and activism are integral to her practice, reflecting her commitment to challenging oppression and fostering new discourse.

“I use art’s transformative and restorative power as a vehicle for raising awareness, empowering, and giving a platform to survivors of sexual violence in conflict to come forward and speak up. We must reach everyone in society and use all means at our disposal to end this intolerable suffering once and for all. The first Thinking of You, in my home nation of Kosovo, became a collective act of listening and healing for the estimated 20,000 survivors of sexual violence committed during the war there. Bringing Thinking of You to The Hague is a powerful homage to the survivors from all over the world and a call to decision-makers to take action.” – Alketa Xhafa Mripa

Thinking of You art installation (The Hague, 2024)

From June 3rd to June 28th 2024, Thinking of You will be installed in the Atrium of the City Hall, and from June 18th to 23rd, the installation will be extended along the avenue of trees on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague—this time gathering dresses and shirts from survivors of conflict-related sexual violence across the world.

The dresses are collected from over 20 countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Colombia. This powerful collection is possible with the support of SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence, and many national survivors’ networks. The installation is a testimony of the reality of sexual violence in conflict and its human consequences, challenging a wide audience to think more deeply about the lived realities of survivors around the world and mobilize key decision-makers to draw a Red Line against the use of sexual violence and take stronger action in preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence.

South-Sudan-Survivors-Thinking-of-You

With The Hague celebrated as the International City of Peace and Justice, there is no better place to present this exhibition. The installation will also commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 19th 2024, hosting a special celebration in the evening and officially bringing the exhibition outdoors along the avenue of trees on the Lange Voorhout in The Hague.

“Art can be a powerful tool to touch people deeply and raise awareness about the consequences of conflict-related sexual violence. On this occasion, we are excited to collaborate with artist Alketa Xhafa Mripa in carrying out this meaningful art exhibition together with SEMA, the Global Network of Victims and Survivors to End Wartime Sexual Violence. It’s our wish that more people join us in drawing a Red Line against the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war.” – Katrien Coppens, Executive Director at the Mukwege Foundation.

“Conflict-related sexual violence is a crime that strikes at the very heart of humanity and leaves the victims and survivors with an everlasting and excruciating pain. It is therefore our collective responsibility to act decisively and address the staggering reality of CRSV. This is why we are happy to collaborate with Artist Alketa Xhafa-Mripa, by bringing the power of Thinking of You art installation to the city of peace and justice.” – H.E. Mr. Dren Doli, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“This year marks 125 years since the First Hague Peace Conference, a historic gathering that laid the groundwork for international cooperation and conflict resolution by establishing the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The Municipality of The Hague is very honoured to host the Alketa Xhafa-Mripa art installation Thinking of You this year, from 3rd to 23rd June. Establishing a permanent global Red Line against sexual violence in conflict is imperative for peace and justice worldwide.”- Mariëlle Vavier, Deputy Mayor International Affairs, Municipality of The Hague

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