Exhibition portraying life as they would love it to be - created by survivors of conflict-related sexual violence

To illustrate the hopes and needs of conflict-related sexual violence survivors in Kosovo, UN Women organises a powerful exhibition of artworks by survivors.

Date: Thursday, November 22, 2018

UN Development Coordinator, Ulrika Richardson Opening the Art exhibition entitled “Colours of Our Souls”. Photo: UN Women
Ulrika Richardson, UN Development Coordinator, opening the Art exhibition entitled “Colours of Our Souls”. Photo: UN Women

Colours of Our Souls, an exhibition of artworks created by survivors of conflict-related sexual violence during the conflict in Kosovo[1] opened on 5 November 2018 at the Kosovo Museum in Pristina.

The motives chosen by the survivors portray life as they would love it to be and show elements of peace, hope, love and solidarity –that they seek in their lives. The colors on the canvas reveal the depth of the souls of the authors who are neither able to sign their artworks with their name nor be present at the exhibition, due to the societal prejudices that have been surrounding them throughout the years.

Art exhibition entitled “Colours of Our Souls” featuring the works of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence
Art exhibition entitled “Colours of Our Souls” featuring the works of survivors of conflict-related sexual violence. Photo: UN Women

The exhibition served to display art as a call for peace and simultaneously as an invitation to amplify the voices of the survivors and to jointly break down the barriers in the hearts and minds.

“The images reflect the hope for a better and more peaceful future for women, who continue to face stigma and violence, exclusion and discrimination,” said Ms. Ulrika Richardson, United Nations Development Coordinator in Kosovo, emphasizing the discrepancy between the reality and needs of the survivors

The event was organized in marking the 18th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, which was an extraordinary recognition by the world’s apex peace and security institution that peace making and peace building are more effective when redress for gender-based injustices and the promotion of women’s empowerment are included Linking art’s therapeutic effect and awareness raising charachter of the event, Colours of Our Souls is a call for action forKosovoinstitutions and society to support survivors in claiming their rights and restoring their lives.

Photographer capturing the artworks on camera. Photo: UN Women
Photographer capturing the artworks on camera. Photo: UN Women

“The exhibition intends to make each of us reflect on the countless limitations faced by survivors for 19 years as a result of the stigma surrounding conflict related sexual violence that society failed to fight,” explained UN Women Project Manager Ms. Rozafa Kelmendi. “Imagine being the author of an artwork and not being able to be present at your own art exhibition’s opening, because of social constraints imposed,”she added.

All revenues from art sales at Colours of Our Souls will go to the artists.

Colours of Our Souls was organised by the UN Women Gender Sensitive Transitional Justice project, supported by the European Union, in cooperation with the Kosovo Museum, the Monet Art Gallery, and Center for Promotion of Women’s Rights, Kosovo Rehabilitation Center for Torture Victims, Medica Gjakova and Medica Kosova.


[1] All references to Kosovo on this website shall be understood to be in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).