Heritage Space IV
Jul 30 - 2020
“The Maidens’ Shrine” short film by Arbërore Lola Sylaj part of the fourth edition of Heritage Space.
Fables tell of fairies that appear from the forest to protect, by attacking anyone who acts with ill intent. The resemblance of such a story with The Maidens’ Shrine is uncanny, as the maidens today are said to protect people from harm. The video “The Maidens’ Shrine” shows multiple similarities with various Albanian myths and rituals. The video takes inspiration from interviews with the Bejtullahu family in Gjakova, who have been caring for the shrine, as well as articles that narrate the story of the shrine.
“The Maidens’ Shrine” is a story about six girls, sisters, who died fighting austro-hungarian soldiers, and whose graves were turned into a shrine roughly 400 years ago. The video is an eight-month process of the project “Albanian Mythologies and Demonologies” which began in the midst of 2019, by coming across a dictionary “Albanian mythologies and demonologies” by Azem Qazimi and Robert Elsie’s Albanian Folktales and Legends, portrayals that opened a world of fairies, cats, snakes, protection, and luck.
Drawing from them, a research exercise began along a theoretical framework on the relations between myths and rituals. In order to grasp how social phenomena unfolds through myths, as “myths differ from other kinds of signifiers. For one thing, they are never arbitrary. They always contain some kind of analogy which motivates them. In contrast to ideas of false consciousness, myths don’t hide anything.” (Robinson:2011)
The Maidens’ Shrine is a video that showcases an interaction between past and present, on the actions and sayings that linger on through time.
Part of the screening was also a discussion on Albanian mythology and demonology – with Donjetë Murati (Researcher).
This project has been realized as part of the #HeritageSpace platform which is implemented by CHwB Kosovo. This activity is part of the “Inter-Community Dialogue through inclusive Cultural Heritage Preservation” project implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP Kosovo) and financed by the European Union Kosovo Instrument for Peace and Stability (IcSP / EU) and the Swedish Government.
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