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.

Chiharu Shiota, JP

The Great Hammam of Prishtina dates back to the fifteenth century. Built as a “couple hammam”, it was used by people of different genders for cleansing, relaxation and socialising.

One of the oldest and few remaining monuments in Prishtina’s cultural landscape, it has not been used as a hammam since 1960. Even in the absence of people, the building signifies connection for Chiharu Shiota. “Connection”, she says, “is part of our existence. We cannot exist without feeling connected to someone or something.”

In Tell me your Story, the artist explores the threads that link us together, that bind us to other beings across space and time. Those same threads, as the wandering lines reveal, can also break, knot, twist and unravel.

For this installation, Shiota has chosen to work with red yarn, a colour she associates with blood, the body and human relationships. Into the vast entanglement of her “three-dimensional drawing”, the artist has woven personal stories of birth, childhood, family and country, religion, love and death. Each was written by someone from Kosovo.