In Collaboration with Filigree Masters
Silver and gold filigree has been practiced in Prizren as far back as the fifteenth century. In the 1940s, Prizren was home to the Yugoslav state filigree company, which was active until 1999. Today, ten masters continue their craft, producing exquisite civil and religious adornments. Prior to the invention of photography, botanical illustration, done in watercolor, was the only way of visually recording the world’s many plant species. Watercolor is a distinct method because each layer of water and color brings the image closer to “reality”—impossible to achieve any other way. A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose? is a translation of a conversation between filigree masters in Prizren and the artist Camila Rocha. Rocha is known for her long-term project Florikultur, which observes and engages with different models of floral—and plant—based conversations in the everyday, from Istanbul to São Paulo. She creates interventions and environments that question and imagine other ways of cohabitating today. Every watercolor illustration is a process of care, long-term observation, and silent conversation. For A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose? Rocha shares her delicate floral portraits with the filigree masters, cocreating her first jewelry line. Both ends of the conversation are defined by minute, patient, careful work. While Rocha sent them her drawing videos, she also watched their videos—how they slowly and diligently create new objects. Therefore, a new channel of Florikultur from the Balkans to Brazil and back, a new hybrid language, is generated. Labor of love is responded back with labor of love, a response which will also take the form of a public sculpture on the banks of Lumbardhi.
Camila Rocha (1977) was born in São Paulo and lives in São Paulo and Istanbul.