Alketa Xhafa Mripa
The last worldly act people traditionally perform for those they love is to bathe their body before burial.
Such ritual washing, known as ablution, is common to many faiths, among them Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Specific to Islam is that the cleansing and purification are conducted by close family members.
Typically, women wash women’s bodies and men wash those of men, except in the case of husbands and wives. In her minimalistic video In the Name of the Father, Alketa Xhafa Mripa adapts this ritual, first by performing it while her father is alive – and thus still able to sense the love conveyed by her touch – and second by crossing the gender divide.
At the same time, this simple act of intimacy and care explores patriarchal power relations by exposing the frailty and vulnerability of the father, one of Kosovo’s most accomplished artists. What is striking – and moving – is the father’s consent to the exposure: in the name of his daughter.
Alketa Xhafa Mripa (1980, RKS) is a Kosovar conceptual artist and activist. Her work investigates themes of motherhood, women, gender relations, memory and the body through a variety of artistic mediums.
Xhafa Mripa’s approach reflects her personal and collective experiences; listening to the struggle of others from a subjective perspective is where she gains motivation. Through her work, she continually explores and creatively engages in conversations that matter to communities at large.
As a woman and a committed artist, Xhafa Mripa’s utilizes her artistic practice to create platforms and collaborations regarding collective issues she deeply cares about. She strives to use an artistic language that encourages new discourses collectively to challenge oppression and injustice within various communities. Her process explores political and social debates inviting others to use their voices and become change makers, pushing for a more equal society.
Alketa Xhafa Mripa
In the Name of the Father
Video, colour, silent, 7.00 min.
Courtesy of the artist