Three Georgia Artists Tackle Issues of Homeland and Identity in Vibrant Paintings
Anonime (Anonymous) is a collection of 14 hand embroidery faces of women who the artist has memorialized in her own way. These women stories need to be told and for the artist it was a healing process of her youth. The stories take place during and after the war in 1998-1999 war in Kosovo, many of the women who had been raped left the country either in shame or after having been rejected by their families. Some fell prey to traffickers and were sold into prostitution. Children often found themselves begging in the streets, forced into labor or even to “donate” their organs.
! Many of these women found themselves in Albania as a refuge. Albania was an economic ruin when it emerged from communism in 1992. High rates of poverty and unemployment, a crumbling infrastructure, and corrupt elected officials made the nation a fertile ground for child trafficking, forced prostitution, forced labor and the forced begging of children.
! Women and girls, lured by false promises of marriage of legitimate employment, often found wound up, kidnapped and forced to work as prostitutes.
At the age of 16 Brikena and her family found themselves helping these refugees and hearing their stories made an impact on the artist soul.
For Brikena Boci, making art is a way for her to be more sensitive to the world, and it allows her to engage her audience in a conversation about both personal and sociopolitical experiences she has had. Born in Albania, Boci says a pivotal moment in her artistic development was when her family hosted a Kosovar photographer and refugee who told Boci that his photographs of the war were the only things that mattered to him. Boci continues the same passion and dedication in her work, using textiles and paint to create vibrant, whimsical portraits of empowered female figures. In Boci’s fantastical world of paintings and embroideries, her characters glisten with sequins, each radiantly unique.
Albanian, b. 1980, Vlore, Albania, based in Atlanta, Georgia