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Conceptual artist Alketa Xhafa Mripa talks to Rev Dr Ayla Lepine about Artemisia's 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria' in relation to the art and religion research theme, Crossing Borders.
About the artist
Alketa Xhafa Mripa is an internationally recognised artist and activist whose work deals with human rights, identity, memory, gender and migration, among others. She has been active for over 15 years through various mixed media installations, painting, video and photography. Alketa is also one of Kosovo’s most influential voices who through her art and activism has contributed to empowering women and stigmatised communities.
Alketa moved to London in 1997 to study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, becoming a refugee when the 1998–9 Kosovo war broke out. Since then, she has displayed her multi-faceted work in exhibitions across Europe including Germany, France, UK, Italy, Portugal, Austria and her native Kosovo, where she gained wider recognition for her art installation ‘Thinking of You’ in 2015.
In 2021, we established two new networks for the exploration, research, and enjoyment of sacred art: the Interfaith Sacred Art Forum, for faith community leaders and theologians, and the Sacred Art in Collections pre-1900 Network for curators and art historians.
Each year, both networks focus on a theme and two paintings in our collection as a foundation for wide-ranging events and activities that make new connections with sacred art, interfaith dialogue, and public life. The theme for 2021-22 was Crossing Borders and the two paintings were 'The Finding of Moses' and 'The Rest on the Flight into Egypt' (on loan from Birmingham Museums Trust), both of which were painted by Orazio Gentileschi.
As part of the Crossing Borders series of events, Alketa Xhafa Mripa was invited to give an 'Unexpected View' and chose to talk about 'Self Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria', by Artemisia Gentileschi.