UNICEF and “Manifesta” Address Climate Change Through Art and Imagination
Recycled plastic bottles from the Manifesta biennale will showcase imagination and innovation
Pristina, October 2022 – A plastic bottle is not only a plastic bottle at the Manifesta festival. It is also an artistic medium.
With guidance from Pristina artist Driant Zeneli, recycled plastic bottles will take centre stage in pantomimes created by children at the festival. The young artists’ brief is to re-imagine themselves as animals and tell their stories on the stage.
This innovative combination of art and environmental awareness is what happens when Pristina hosts the 14th Manifesta biennial in the city’s iconic Grand Hotel.
Co-organiser Lyra Rrustemi explains the process of recycling.
“We take the plastic bottles and turn them into filaments and then into granules, which then are used to form the figures that the children drew for their stories,” she said.
Lyra said that activities like these expand children’s imagination.
“It often happens that due to cultural and social influences these imaginations are suppressed and here today children are inspired to express their creative ideas,” she said.
For Fjolla Elshani, mother of 10-year-old participant Anela this was an extraordinary opportunity for her daughter's development during the summer holidays.
“Anela welcomed it with joy and is learning new things and hanging out with other girls,” she said.
“Most of the summer schools have been very expensive so this activity is very good, and it is free of charge and held every week. Therefore, it has been very suitable for the family budget.”
The theme of the workshop was recycling, teaching children how to protect the environment against materials that can damage and endanger it.
UNICEF supported the activity through a partnership with the organizations BoneVet and Down Syndrome, guaranteeing that children of all abilities were included.
Marigona Sadiku from Down Syndrome Kosovo said that children with this syndrome often express their imagination through pictures and illustrations, so it was an ideal activity for them.
“It is very important that children with Down syndrome are part of the various activities that the Municipality of Prishtina organizes, and by attending these activities we declare that inclusiveness must exist,” she said.
The 9th edition of “Manifesta 14” in Prishtina will end October 30, 2022, with an exhibition of children’s work.
This workshop was part of UNICEF’s work to empower children and young people as agents of social change to advocate for improved air quality policies and change social norms.