Kamen art residency, Orah (BIH)
Textile: Ines Borovac & Vasilla Association

Why won’t you marry me? is a project focused on researching the patriarchal issues embedded in Balkan marriage. Researching past Slavic rituals in collaboration with an ethnographer from Ethnographic Museum Trebinje Borovac was analysing the history of rituals and gestures of partnership. From searching for a partner to what a traditional date looks like and more…

She was exploring the material symbolism of marriage embedded in the traditional folk attires. Collecting different parts of clothes and accessories connected to the rituals of marriage and wedding or indicators of partnership status. She deconstructed the pieces, adjusted them to her idea of a marriage and fabricated her own version of a wedding dress together with Vasilla organisation (specialised in traditional costume craftsmanship).  Crucial part of the costume was the apron (Đerdan, traditional piece of clothing that would symbolise the merit of a girl who is ready to get married) serving the most intimate things a contemporary girl can have, the content of her bag.

Through this whole time Borovac was writing her own prenuptial agreement embedding egalitarianism at the base of the contract. As prenuptial agreements usually deal with inheritance and money her prenuptial was dealing with the values, behaviours, body politics and equal distribution of non-material values (emotional labour,, vulnerability..) she expects in marriage.

As a final result the artist was inviting visitors to join her on a negotiation process of prenuptial agreement. Where she would open a space for discussion and conversation. Each “date” would end up with a written feedback from the visitor explaining “why wouldn’t they marry her?”.

Apart from opening a new window to the balkan marriage, Borovac was building a new meaning inscribed into the archetype of traditional Balkan bride and conclifted the social stereotype connected to it.