Elizabeth Claffey

Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood

Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood is an ongoing series that examines contemporary Albanian identity and the complex intersection of past and future as shaped by a people’s perseverance, desire, hope, and conflict.  As a visitor, I am trying to perceive a shared knowledge, a common understanding that deeply connects Albanians beyond western categories of identification.  This ethos is unwavering, elusive, an unspoken culture that creates resilience but can also generate isolation.  Mother’s Milk, Father’s Blood is an attempt to visually and emotionally access something that is not available to me verbally or intellectually.  The title for the series is influenced by Ismail Kadare’s novel Chronicles in Stone. David Bellos, in the introduction, touches on the significance of lineage, which is defined according to “the line of milk” and “the line of blood.”  These two familial characteristics shape many lives and have a significant influence on social, familial, and personal experience.  The mother’s milk and the father’s blood are part of a deep folkloric tradition, which can explain one’s past while simultaneously shaping the future.

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