Gjoke Gojani, a 30 year old art student from Kosovo, had received the most votes from the public when the poll was closed midnight, Sunday 31 July. Out of 2,700 participants from 40 European countries, Gojani’s contribution Treat me like a woman got 7,530 votes, securing top spot with just 167 more votes than second placed Together we can fight back.
“I think I won because people thought my work was original and that it is not only treating women as a passive subject, but also as participants to combat the violence that women face,” according to Gojani.
The ad is a photo of a young woman with short hair; the left side is crumpled up like a piece of paper. – The part of the picture that is not destroyed is an appeal to all women: they can react and rebel, they can denounce their aggressors, they can reconstruct the picture that was destroyed by violence, he explains.
Gojani who was born in Peje, Kosovo, studies at the Academy Carrara of Fine Arts in Bergamo, Italy. He has had previous work published in magazines and exhibitions in both his native country and Italy.
In his ad he also included a small text to go with the image: “violence is not religious, nor is it cultural”. - It’s a universal message against violence. It cannot be accepted, no matter what your religion is, or which culture you belong to, says Gojani. He reveals that the subject is close to his own heart, “I come from a reality (in Kosovo, ed. note) where violence against women is a difficult issue. I have witnessed episodes of violence against women and children. I hope I have sent a message to my country too, where much has been said about this award,” he adds.
Gojani said the main challenge was to create something original. “First, I created a video, then a frame of that video that was not really good. Finally, I took a photo of a friend of mine, I crumpled it up and… that’s all!”
When asked if such a negative topic can create something positive Gojani says, “it depends on how you look at the issue. To create something positive is certainly difficult, but I think I managed to treat the subject with a positive message of hope; that the picture can be reconstructed, women who are victims of violence can react. He says that a lot of work still needs to be done to address the issue, but that a UN campaign could help raise awareness. Governments around the world have to face and combat violence against women,” he concludes.
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