Manifesta heads to Kosovo: Europe’s youngest nation to host biennial in 2022

Manifesta heads to Kosovo: Europe’s youngest nation to host biennial in 2022
National Library of Kosovo. Image: Marco Fieber under a CC licence

10 May 2019

The European contemporary art biennial Manifesta will head to the Kosovar capital Pristina in 2022, making the show’s fourteenth edition its first in the Balkans.

The organisers of Manifesta say they selected the city for its distinct geographical importance as the capital of Europe’s youngest nation.

“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,” said Manifesta’s director Hedwig Fijen in a statement. “I wish Manifesta can provide Pristina the means to reconstruct, redefine, and reclaim a radicalised and diverse public space.”

Having declared independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo’s relatively new statehood has contributed to a complex national identity, a dynamic arts scene, and rapid urbanisation in Pristina — characteristics which were emphasised in the city’s proposal to Manifesta.

Pristina’s mayor, Shpend Ahmeti, said of Manifesta’s decision: “Our city is proud and honoured to host Manifesta in 2022. In a place where 50 per cent 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.”

With Manifesta 14 still three years away, contemporary art lovers can first look forward to the biennial’s next edition in Marseille, running from June to November 2020.

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