(Albania 2008-2010) by courtesy of the F. C. Gundlach Collection
Pepa Hristova’s first exhibition in Bulgaria shows the unexplored part of Europe, the part where people say that the mountains have been “cursed” by the Devil, where the vendetta is an essential right, and women can become men, provided that they vow to remain virgins for the rest of their lives.
HAKIJE (Albania, 2008-2010) © PEPA HRISTOVA
There, in the North of Albania, there is an age-old law: if the family patriarch dies, one of the women in the family can take his place. So the burrnesha (from “burr”, the Albanian word for “man”) start living as sons, brothers, uncles, heads of the family, heirs to the clan. There former women who have stepped into the social role of males, have forgotten their nature and have built their whole lives as men. Some of them don’t even remember having been women.
ILMIJE (Albania, 2008-2010) © PEPA HRISTOVA
Born in Bulgaria in 1977, the photographer has exhibited her work in some of the biggest art centres in Europe – Deichtorhallen in Hamburg, C/O in Berlin, NRW-Forum in Dusseldorf, the Art Academy in Berlin, Bozar in Brussels, and never in her own country. Until this moment.