Manifesta 14 to be hosted in Prishtina, Kosovo, in 2022
On the 3rd of May 2019, at an official press conference held in Prishtina, the Director of Manifesta, Hedwig Fijen, the Mayor of Prishtina, Shpend Ahmeti, the Director of Culture City of Prishtina, Blerta Basholli, and the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport of the Republic of Kosovo, Kujtim Gashi officially announced Prishtina as the host city of Manifesta 14.
The Supervisory Board of Manifesta selected the city of Prishtina in Kosovo because of the geographical and geopolitical importance of the Balkans in relation to Europe’s recent history and its future. In its relatively young history as the capital of the youngest nation state of Europe, the city of Prishtina has experienced major transformations in its landscape due to unrestrained neoliberal policies of privatisation of open urban spaces. Manifesta aims to support the citizens of Kosovo in their ambition to reclaim public space and to rewrite the future of their city as an open-minded metropolis in the heart of the Balkans.
Prishtina presents a unique location from which to look at the past and think about the present challenges Europe is facing from an unexpected and heterogeneous perspectives. This fast-changing urban centre at the crossroads between Southern and Eastern Europe will allow Manifesta 14 to investigate how contemporary culture and social practices can address the identity of a country that is as composite as it is polymorphic.
Prishtina was selected by Manifesta to host the 14th edition of the biennial based on the strong bid submitted by the City of Prishtina. The Board received bids from various European cities and subsequently undertook in-depth research into each candidate, including research travels, as part of the selection procedure. The selection of the host city three years in advance of the biennial is part of a strategy that enables a greater engagement with the host region and to build links between host cities.
Shpend Ahmeti, Mayor of the City of Prishtina:
“Our city is proud and honored to host Manifesta in 2022. In a place where 50 percent of its hospitable population are younger than 25, where Ottoman architecture is mixed with postwar neoliberal philosophy, there is a lot to discuss, there is a lot to do and there is a lot of public space to reclaim. Manifesta is what we need not only to push for an honest discussion about the direction of the city, but also as an example of rebirth of cities, art and architecture in Western Balkans. Manifesta has given the most important answer to our bid – Balkans is Europe and we can contribute to the debate.”
Hedwig Fijen, Director of Manifesta:
“As the bid proclaimed, Kosovo seems to be going through its own quiet revolution in terms of mobility. An increase in exchange between the new region revitalises historical relationships but also creates surprising connections. This freedom to move within the region has given Kosovars a new way to think about themselves, how they organise their life, and how they experience themselves in relation to the region and the world at large. Besides, Kosovo is not only located within its sovereign territory, but is manifested in a lively diaspora all around the world. The cultural, legal and political paralysis of the 1990s resulted in a loss of sense of public space and a lack of recognition for what is common. I wish Manifesta can provide Pristina the means to reconstruct, redefine and reclaim a radicalised and diverse public space, which still seems to be today regarded as a cultural subversive act, which can become a call for change.”