Alketa Xhafa Mripa, is a talented conceptual artist, mother of four, Yoga teacher and a business women that runs a tea house in London together with her husband.
Alketa comes from an artistic family, her father Xhevdet Xhafa a contemporary painter, brother Sislej Xhafa a conceptual artist based in New York.
Born in Peja, Lived in Prishtina until she was 17 yrs old when she moved to London in 97 to study Fine Arts in Central Saint Martins where she lives with her husband and her 4 children.
Meet the Artist: NY Elite Interview with Alketa Xhafa Mripa
NY Elite: Tell us a little about yourself and your career beginnings.
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: I grew up in a family of artists, my father and brother are both artists. My earliest childhood memories are of my father sitting in a chair in front of a canvas.
There, I began to understand the priceless value of art – as a unique language created by an individual yet understood by all.
Art is my language of choice, my voice that travels without me having to utter a word. Art has no language barrier – it is universal. It is a way of expressing the unsaid, the unsayable.
NY Elite: What projects are you currently working on?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa:At the moment I am still touring with my Art Installation ‘Refugees Welcome’ in UK with the slogan #FancyATeawithARefugee
As I am trying to reach as many communities and hear different opinions reaching different corners of the UK!!
NY Elite: What art do you most identify with?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: Art Installation ‘Thinking of You’
Thinking Of you’ is dedicated to Kosova’s survivors of sexual violence during the War, but it is also dedicated to the survivors of sexual violence all over the world. It has its roots in Kosovo, but at the same time it has a universal language of its own and that it can be understood and felt by everyone.
Still today, Sexual violence continues to be used as an instrument of war and its victims remain unrecognized and silenced globally. So in creating ‘Thinking of You’ I want to make a direct call to break the silence, to fight the stigma – a call to act and show solidarity.
NY Elite: What themes do you pursue?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: As a Conceptual Artist focusing on certain issues such as social stigmas, taboos, migration, gender …
My Art practice touches an issues, struggles, fears and the truth of the society it exist within … its aim is to inspire a community to do something about it, whether that’s to deal with it, to cope or to overcome it.
The desire to visualise what words sometimes cannot say motivates my work ,mission for the truth, the lost, the forgotten … the unsayable to be seen and heard!!
Through visualizing the idea: concept of the Art piece, involvement of the community, the society to be part of it while documenting & sharing their stories, that what my aim is for my Art practice.
NY Elite: What’s your favorite art work?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: Can’t really separate my Art Work each one of them has it momentum.
But I suppose ‘Thinking of You’ plays a big role to me, because of the scale of the Art Installation and to whom is dedicated to.
NY Elite: Tells us about some of your recent exhibitions. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa:My latest art Piece is called ‘Waterfalls’ and was presented in Autostrada Biennale in Kosova, and the title of the Biennale this year was ‘Future Of Borders!!
…At the centre of an enclosed room inside the Prizren bus station, there is a pool table,
We spit violently, as if to say: “Be damned with your borders and the rules you created for us.”
The pool table as a symbol for entertainment is now converted into a platform from which the women protest. Instead of entertaining, these women are discontented by contemporary life and they spit over the borders and rules created through the centuries and that are being created still. The establishment of such physical and psychological borders is supported through the politics and society in which they exist.
Pool is a male-dominated game where they have the cues in hand to control and shoot the balls in the ‘right direction’. It is an allusion to the fact that men take decisions in contemporary society. They shoot the balls to the pockets, score points against each other – they take into their hands decisions for the future of the men, women, and of the whole society. This Ary work as Penesta Dika Art Historian quotes ‘is also a protest against the male decision-makers, who ‘play games’ with human lives’.
NY Elite: What role does the Artist have in Society?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: I personally believe that Artist do have a responsibility to help the society not only to get to know or understand something only with their minds / intellectually but to feel it emotionally & physically …it’s visual representation has to be able to reach out and touch people around the world
I believe that Art today has to raise question, it has to make you think , to speak up the truth…
NY Elite: What are your thoughts on being an artist in today’s world?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: The role of the artist depends on the personality of the Artist and their chosen subject matter..
I believe that through Art, we can challenge many of our society’s deepest assumptions build upon the power of artistic creation and expression … it becomes a political act, a conscious effort to participate in social change
NY Elite: What can we expect from you in 2017?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: 2017 & 2018 will be very busy years for me I would not like to expose to much as I am On my early stages of creating my new Art pieces.
NY Elite: Can you share with us three favorite things about your city/culture?
Alketa Xhafa Mripa: There are so many, but if I have to chose 3, will be ;
Free spirited Youngsters of Kosova.