‘NO MORE WOUNDS – MAI PIU FERITE – art for peace project successfully accomplished in Italy (press release)
Press Release by the Regional Women’s Lobby (RWLSEE)
Fano, Italy, October 2, 2021
The project for peace through art entitled “NO MORE WOUNDS” was successfully accomplished in Italy
The international project for peace and reconciliation through art entitled “NO MORE WOUNDS” was held within the Rocca Malatestiana Festival in the city of Fano in Italy, from September 23 to September 30, 2021. This project was organized by the Regional Women’s Lobby in Southeast Europe (RWLSEE), Academy of Fine Arts in Macerata and Erasmus Program and Fano Rocca Malatestiana Cultural Association, with the support of UN Women for Europe and Central Asia and the Swedish Government.
The aim of this project was to foster the transformative potentials of art in building peace, justice, healing the wounds of war and contribute to reconciliation in the Western Balkans under the motto ‘no more wounds’. Bringing together women leaders from politics, art, academia and civil society from eight countries from Balkans and Italy, this event developed its work through the International Conference dedicated to this topic (September 28 and 29) as well as through the artistic activity of painters from 23rd to 28th of September, and which was followed by the opening of the exhibition of their wonderful works portraying the pain of war wounds. The whole activity took place in the inspiring surroundings of the medieval castle Rocca Malatestiana, in Fano, Italy.
The International Conference “NO MORE WOUNDS” addressed the nexus between art, inclusive peace, transitional justice and reconciliation and the potential of art to alleviate the wounds of war as well as the memory of human tragedies that should never be forgotten, in post-conflict societies and especially in post-war and genocide Balkans. In this context, the following topics were discussed: why is art an important mechanism for building peace and especially for building an inclusive gender peace? the art of peace and the politics of art; what is the power of art in healing the wounds of war and promoting transitional justice, building trust and reconciliation, especially with regard to women survivors of sexual violence during wars; what can we learn from scientific studies in this field and best practices in the world; what is the message of the exhibition “NO MORE WOUNDS” by artists from the Western Balkans and Italy at the Rocca Malatestiana Festival.
The international conference was opened by Edita Tahiri, Chairwoman of RWLSEE and former Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo, who in her speech recalled the pain and consequences of wars and genocides in the Western Balkans, namely in Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, while emphasizing that women managed to turn pain into strength to build a better future through a peaceful regional dialogue. She gave a message to everyone saying, as follows: “If history is forgotten, it may repeat itself.” Therefore, she encouraged women artists to continue working together on projects like this and to help remembering the true history and healing the wounds of women and society, and especially for survivors of sexual violence during wars, as this is also a great contribution to peacebuilding and reconciliation.
Alia El-Yassir, UN Regional Director for Women in Europe and Central Asia, emphasized the importance of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the progress made towards empowering women in peacebuilding processes, negotiating tables, transitional justice and reconciliation. She praised this project which reflected the cooperation between art and peace and encouraged such strategic efforts and initiatives that will strengthen the perspectives of women and gender equality, which are at the heart of the Agenda for Women, Peace and Security and Generation Equality. She further praised the potential of art and its use to connect people, especially young women from post-conflict societies, stating: “Art has proven to be one of the most effective ways to heal war traumas. Let’s unlock the transformative potential of people and their creativity, let’s make it meaningful, together,” said Ms El-Yassir.
Rossella Ghezi, director of the Academy of Arts in Macerata, underlined the importance of cooperation between women and the exchange of cultural experiences, especially between women artists. She spoke about the moral and ethical values that women have and their sensitivity to human rights that go beyond that, and she appealed to “never forget what happened and to not allow it to happen again.”
Luciana Cataldo from the Academy of Fine Arts in Macarata, spoke about how she was inspired by an Albanian singer called Ermal Meta, who sang a song about violence against women and how he tried to give his support to stop the violence. She also recalled the time when this project was just an idea and how it was imagined and how it further developed to build bridges of cooperation and connect art and peace building, the Western Balkans and Italy, and women artists with women politicians.
Massimo Puliani, director of Rocca Fano Malatestiana said that art has the potential to change and modify society, art produces powerful works in order not to forget the history of human tragedies, and generates new energies to advance processes similar to politics. Therefore, he called for unity towards achieving peace and happiness.
Within the framework of this project, on September 28, an exhibition was opened with the theme “NO MORE WOUNDS” by well-known artists from eight countries of the Western Balkans and Italy. The exhibition was opened by Edita Tahiri, Chairwoman of RWLSEE, Massimo Serri, Mayor of Fano, Rossela Gezzi, Director of the Academy in Macerata, who also held a press conference for the Italian media. The well-known Albanian-Italian singer Ermal Meta, known for his support against violence against women, also participated in this press conference. Our project “NO MORE WOUNDS” took its title from one of his songs (MAI PIU FERITE in Italian).
The international peace project “NO MORE WOUNDS” was attended by the following: the Regional Women’s Lobby (RWLSEE) was represented by Edita Tahiri – Chairwoman (Kosovo) and members of the Steering Committee Eglantina Gjermeni (Albania), Nada Drobnjak (Montenegro), Irina Pockova (North Macedonia), Izabela Kisic, Jelena Krstic (Serbia), Tamara Vukicevic (Croatia); Diana Cekaj-Berisha – RWLSEE project coordinator, and Nita Bakalli- project assistant. From the Academy of Fine Arts and Erasmus: Rosella Ghezzi – director of the Academy, Luciana Cataldo – professor, Teresa Marasca – professor, Eleonora Sarti- professor; From Fano Rocca Malatestiana: Massimo Puliani – director and professor at the Academy of Arts in Fano, Natalia Andrea Peral – PDA in EL Salvador and Christina Vannini, Europa Nostra, Italy.
Participants in the Exhibition and Art Workshop were well-known women artists from eight countries of the Western Balkans and Italy: Eliza Hoxha (Kosovo), Elga Miter (Albania), Tamara Pavicevic (Montenegro), Darinka Pop-Mitic (Serbia), Berta Milos (Croatia), Shqipe Kamberi (North Macedonia), Ana Hribar (Slovenia) and artists from Italy: Casaluce Greiger. Margherita Cantiani, and Ezzia Mitolo.
The wounds that the wars in the Balkans caused to people and especially women have not been yet healed, while justice is being delayed and the perpetrators are not being punished. The international conference, together with the works of art, aimed to help heal wounds, rebuild broken relationships by promoting inclusive gender peace, transitional justice and reconciliation, which are much needed even twenty years after the end of the wars. Our project provided a platform for discussion and reinforced women’s voices, showing the world that the ‘wounds of war and especially the tragedies of the women’s world’ caused by the recent wars in the Balkans over twenty years ago must not be forgotten or ignored.