Art, as told by Alketa Xhafa Mripa

Art means many things to many different people. It could be a blank canvas; it could be the spark that sets your imagination alight.

Alketa Xhafa Mripa is a conceptual artist whose piece ‘Refugees Welcome’ was recently shown at the Tate Modern. It was part of a wider exhibition ‘Who Are We?’ centred around the  theme of  identity and migration.

This is art, according to Alketa.

Art is...

My desire and my mission for the truth; the unsayable desire to be heard. The desire to visualise what my words cannot say motivates my work. Art today has to raise questions, it has to trigger something within you. It has to make you think and bring up questions. I believe in voices that try to break through and want to be heard, especially at this time we’re living in. More than ever we need to speak up, not just for art, but for human rights in general, especially empowering women living in oppressive societies. Art gives those people a voice.

The creative world’s best-kept secret

It definitely has to be my all time favourite artist Louise Bourgeois. She’s one of the first female artists to portray a woman's role in society. A strong and passionate artist who spoke about and portrayed emotions throughout her work. She focuses on sex, jealousy, fear, struggle and love. Art always had its place during her childhood and she brought elements of that back through her current projects. I admire that she wasn’t afraid of being confronted by the male artists of her time. As a rule, she reacted against them all.

My favourite pieces by her have to be ‘Spider’ and ‘Maman

Free expression

I always express myself freely - that is the freedom of art. When I have an idea or a concept I never think about other people or what they might think or enjoy; I do not need nor do I wish to please others. My art is to tell the truth. Honesty about what one wants to express. You may agree or disagree, both are valid.


The power of the artist

Art, as we all know, plays a very important part in our society. Art can question, answer, lead, follow, uplift or provoke. The role of the artist depends on the personality of the artist and their chosen subject matter. I believe that their art should express and talk about the taboo subject. It should touch on issues, struggles, fears and the truths of the society it exists within. It should inspire a community to do something about it, whether that’s to deal with it, cope with it or even overcome it.

The artist's role has to be to reach out and touch people around the world through their art. It’s their visual representation. It has to be a global language, regardless of where they come from. Their art, religion or nationality has to be understood by all.

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