Youth| 07 | 12 | 2021
This mural is based on a photograph we took of a group of kids I befriended on my first visit to Kosovo. Since then we have kept in contact online and in every visit we manage to hang out, talk about the world, exchange English and Albanian words and play some football in front of their apartment building. The mural celebrates our friendship but perhaps more importantly speaks to a broader sense of commonality and empathy despite the gaps in age and culture.
On this last visit I was able to ascertain that one of the things I admire the most from Kosovars is their emotional intelligence and their capacity to appreciate the small things that matter to them and take the rest lightly and with humor. Although my view as an outsider and a visitor is always subjective, however, many things feel immensely familiar. By looking at the architecture in working class neighborhoods, meeting people and creating interactions that remind me of my childhood in Andalucia.
Despite all the obvious differences, I can’t help but notice a vast commonality occurring throughout my travels to the mediterranean and its surroundings. From Sicily, Morocco and Marseille to Andalucia, Tunisia, and the Balkans.
Human empathy transcends political borders and divisions. Language and cultural nuances. Although technically the Mediterranian belongs to three different continents that are then subdivided by many countries, that once again are divided by regions. I see the Mediterranean and its surroundings is a single coherent place where culture is also their dark and witty humor, their views on quality of life over abundance, the pace at which they walk, the pleasure in staring into a landscape at the steps of your house, or under an olive or a fig tree. When the Muezzin calls to prayer I hear Flamenco.
This mural takes this specific story and interaction to speak of a general thought. The youth is a palpable evidence of our present, they inhabit and shape our land and mold the things that are yet to come. The piece is a tribute to friendship, human affinity, empathy and as the title underlines, youth.
Project collaboration with Helen Bur.