The dream of love is to stay forever with the one you love. There are different forms of that dream, but most of them are in stage set design made for wedding party. Women refugees are no different in dreaming that dream. It is just that they have parallel dream besides wedding: freedom. To live and love with dignity of human being. Not to be scared to choose the one you love, not to have fear that your child will be thirsty and you won’t have water to give to it, or that your breasts won’t have enough milk to feed your baby…
According to UNCHR there are at least 79,5 million people on the world who were forced to leave their homes, of whom 26 million refugees. Around half of them are women and girls. Since 1993. more than 34 000 refugees died. Half of them women and girls – more than 17 000 dreams of eternal love moved to Heaven.
In almost all cultures of the world wedding has the same meaning: together till death. Sounds dramatic for such kind of feeling: it has “death” as a connection notion – something terrifying what is hanging around your beautiful love dream. Black frame for colors of whatever love means. But in my religion, Islam, death is not the border and that frame would be made of white cotton sheets – the same one in which we are burying our dead. Nothing but dead and white cotton sheet are going to be buried after death. It is symbolizing that you are coming in front of the Allah/God naked, as you came on this world. If you fought for better world, than Jannah/Heaven is waiting for you. As a woman in Heaven – you can have the man you choose. Your eternal love. Your choice. Your wedding. Your wedding dress design.
At the beginning of last century, in my culture/Bosnian/Balkan, when girl wanted to meet secretly the man she loves, she would ask her mother to go out to bring some fresh water from spring or public water pipe. There, beside running water, her darling would wait for her, to see her just for a few seconds: until running water fills the barrel full. They couldn’t exchange nothing but the look of their eyes. She would go home with the fire she took by taking water. There are lot of traditional Bosnian songs, sevdalinkas, which are telling stories about dreaming of eternal love. Mostly they don’t have happy end. But it doesn’t mean that love dies if it is not happy. Quite opposite. It makes faith in eternal love stronger, where death, or anything else, cannot tear two apart. Especially after death. Heavens’ gardens, different fruits, clear running waters – stage set design from dreams of lovers who couldn’t be together on this world, but who will meet after their death.
This wedding dress is made only of “space blanket” – aluminium foil tape fabric which is given to refugees to keep them warm. It saves body temperature in extreme cold weather conditions.
Dress is made only by knots to stress out lack of means refugees are having on the way to their dreams. (No means – but dreams).
Frame is made out of paper and wood, and it is covered with white satin and white lace, combined with stones.
It is made in November 2020, and it is devoted to all female refugees who were dreaming of eternal love and they died on their way to have it in democracy and freedom. It is devoted to my ideal of eternal love: your beauty comes always with you, wherever you are, and your beauty is in your belief that eternal love is possible, despite reality.
Artist: Aida Kozar, 48, theatre actress and multimedia artist from Novi Pazar, region of Sanjak, south-west of Serbia. Education: Academy of Drama Arts, Prishtina; Philological Faculty, English Language and Literature, Prishtina; High school of Journalism, Sarajevo; Human Rights and democracy, Sarajevo. Worked as an actress, theatre director, docent, radio journalist. Lived in Novi Pazar, Prishtina, Sarajevo, Belgrad, Novi Sad, Banja Luka, Kosovska Mitrovica. Now lives in Cologne.