DEAR photography



Pepa Hristova
Hakije 1, Sworn Virgins

HAKIJE (59) was brought up as a boy from birth, because a dervish had prophesied that her parents would have a son.

Northern Albania is still home today to so-called „Sworn Virgins“ – the last men-women in Europe. A collection of laws from the Middle Ages, passed down over the centuries by word of mouth, allows families who have lost their patriarch – not seldom through blood feuds – to select a woman as head of the household. But only under the condition that she make an irrevocable vow to remain a virgin for the rest of her life. These sworn virgins are highly respected by their families and attain the status of men. They do men’s work and dress and behave like men, but are regarded as male in a social rather than a sexual sense. The sworn virgins fill their roles so perfectly that, over time, they are no longer regarded as women outside their own family. Over the years, the woman in them is lost. (From the series: Sworn Virgins / Albania 2008-2010)

Title
Hakije 1, Sworn Virgins
Place
Albania
Year
2008-2010
Technique
Photography/Archival Pigment Print
Size
90 × 123 cm
Edition
2/5 + 2AP
Provenance
Artist
Framing
Wooden frame, matt white