Artists for Kosovo

In 1999, Gavin Friday travelled to Kosovo on behalf of the charity Concern, to film a documentary highlighting the plight of Kosovan refugees. The 30-minute video documentary ‘Three Wishes For Kosovo’ was completed and shown on RTE television on December 17th, 1999.

Gavin: “Why? I don’t really know, it’s all too convoluted and to tell the truth, the `why?’ is not that important. Like most things in my life, I make it up as I go along. A planned accident. Over a few pints in May of this year, myself and a couple of friends, Anne-Louise Kelly and Sheila Roche, decided to do something constructive to help the plight of the refugees in Kosovo.”

Exhibition: Artists for Kosovo

Anne-Louise Kelly approached Concern and offered to help fundraise. There were lots of ideas, one of which was an art exhibition: “Artists For Kosovo”. Laura Magahy and Aileen Corkery of Temple Bar Properties jumped on board.

“Artists for Kosovo”, a slide-show of work by renowned Irish artists and the children of St Audeon’s Nationa School set to Friday/Seezer music, was shown in Meeting Place Square in Dublin’s Temple Bar from 27th July to 30th August 1999. It aimed to create awareness, and stimulate reaction to the inhumane situation in Kosovo. The 34 artists who contributed included Guggi, Perry Ogden, Maria Pizzuti, Claire Carpenter, Sibylle Ungers, Tom Matthews, Laurent Mellet and Rachel Ballagh.


Documentary: Three Wishes for Kosovo

Three weeks after the Nato ceasefire, on Concern’s request, Gavin and a film crew went to Kosovo to shoot a short film, as hundreds of thousands of Kosovar refugees returned to their homeland. Nothing could have prepared him for what he experienced over the few days in Kosovo:

Gavin: “From the moment we crossed the border at Macedonia, the tension and fear was enough to make one vomit. I was frightened, the film crew were frightened, everywhere looked and felt like hell on earth. Every village, town and city we went to was flattened to the ground. Everywhere we went, people asked us “do you want to film the dead bodies?”

On the last day of filming, the team spent an afternoon with a group of refugee children. They played party games and painted pictures and Gavin tried his hand at balloon magic.

Gavin: “I was crap. So much for my crash course with Joe the Magic Man. It was in this context that one could finally feel some sense of optimism. I asked the children if they had three wishes for Kosovo, what they would be. Nearly every child had the same wishes to have peace in Kosovo, to have a new house, to have things the way they used to be.”

Múc the Flying Pig

The third part of the project revolved around a 12ft high, 8ft long and 5ft wide metal pig with wings. ‘Múc’ enabled the public, but in particular children, who are excluded from the normal credit card appeals, to ‘feed the pig’ with donations towards the Kosovo Appeal.

Read more about Múc the Flying Pig.

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