February 26, 2024 | Monday

“Bouquet of Hearts” exhibition at Europe House in Pristina

“Bouquet of Hearts” presents 30 ‘Ebru’ artworks, a traditional Turkish art form of painting in water and paper marbling. The paintings display several techniques, but what makes them more special is that they were produced by 16 mothers of children with disabilities, “facing life-changing and hard challenges, heartache, an uphill struggle, yet finding the courage to express their feelings in painting,” stated Mimoza Bytyqi Rrahmani in her opening remarks of the Bouquet of Hearts exhibition at the Europe House in Pristina.

The Bouquet of Hearts exhibition, opened on January 29, featuring 30 artworks by 16 mothers of children with disabilities in Kosovo. For three consecutive months, while their children received various services at the HANDIKOS center, they were trained in the “Ebru” art technique. 

Among the many personalities present at the opening of the exhibition, AnnaCarin Platon from the EU Office in Kosovo said that she was very happy to be participating in the opening of this exhibition, emphasizing the EU’s persistence on providing support to persons with disabilities in Kosovo. “The EU has supported and will support organizations that represent and work for persons with disabilities in Kosovo… I am very happy to be here… The EU has provided assistance to persons with disabilities to achieve and improve accessibility for the whole society and to improve the inclusiveness of persons with disabilities,” she said.

The European Union Office in Kosovo has demonstrated this persistence in supporting efforts to improve the condition of persons with disabilities in Kosovo, notably with the “Inclusive Kosovo” Project, through which HANDIKOS has been able to advance the conditions of persons with disabilities in Kosovo through advocacy work with state institutions as well as direct work with representative organizations of persons with disabilities, and through direct work for persons with disabilities. Mentioning the successes and the need for continuation of such efforts, Afrim Maliqi, head of HANDIKOS, said that despite the work done so far, the situation on the ground remains challenging for persons with disabilities, with only 12% of children with disabilities having access to education, and the greatest burden for caring for them falling on the parents, especially on the mothers of these children. 

Aida Fekaj, one of the creative mothers of the “Bouquet of Hearts” exhibition, mentioning the importance of such socializing activities for mothers of children with disabilities, said that as mothers, regardless of the difficulties they face every day as primary caregivers for children with disabilities, this experience was extraordinary. “We were introduced to an art that I, as a mother, knew little about beforehand, a very beautiful art that lets emotions speak,” she said.

Mothers who are members of the advocacy group of parents of children with disabilities, Fidajete Shala Pllana and Mimoza Rrahmani Bytyqi, also participated in the three-month workshop to learn painting techniques through “Ebru” art. Both were present at the opening of the exhibition, and mentioned the importance of such opportunities for parents of children with disabilities, especially mothers, for whom this experience was impressive. Shala Pllana describes the meetings between the mothers during this workshop as very emotional, offering space for sharing and exchanging different experiences, but also providing social and emotional support for each other. Such an experience is indispensable for mothers of children with disabilities growing up in Kosovo, given the difficulties they face, which range from unfriendly infrastructural conditions for persons with disabilities to lack of access to adequate health and educational services. 

Rrahmani-Bytyqi, who came up with the “Bouquet of Hearts” title, said that all participating mothers have given a lot of themselves, and that this title symbolizes the need of these mothers for support, but on the other hand, it is also the embodiment of strength, courage and above all the great love that springs from the hearts of these mothers.