OSMANI (80) doesn’t remember when she became a man. She had to take care of her sick parents at an early age. Already as a child, she spent months with the other men and their flocks up in the mountains. Later, she worked in an ore mine. She has never learned to read and write.
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)
- Osmani 6
- Archival Pigment Print
123 × 100 cm
- wooden frame, matt anthrazit, museum glass