Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Elona Beqiraj, RKS/DE

“It doesn’t matter where you are from, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kurdistan”, says Elona Beqiraj. All the people who have had similar struggles are part of the social network the poet calls “home”, her “community”, a group “free from dominating normative identities” that “still stands for cultural richness and history”. 

This sense of belonging took Beqiraj, who grew up as part of the Kosovar diaspora in Germany, quite some time to achieve. Writing poetry has played a crucial role for her in grappling with the fractured identity that comes with living between two worlds, neither of which embraces you.

Without condoning the structures of social exclusion that partially formed her, her writings locate a reservoir of creativity and agency within the “neither-nor” mode of “diasporic being”.