A president immortalized

Unveiled in late September, the statute of former President Ibrahim Rugova, who died in 2006, makes up a sculptural quartet with the likenesses of former Kosovo Liberation Army commander Zahir Pajaziti, Albanian hero Gjergj Kastriot Skenderbeu and nun Mother Teresa. Isa Mustafa, the current Mayor of Prishtina, describes the statue as “an icon of Kosovo’s independence” and the former president as “a visionary leader; a politician who won political battles by unfolding his ideas.”

Mustafa is also the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (also known as the LDK), a party established by Rugova in 1989. But whether the statue gets it right, is another question. Prishtina Insight spoke to people who knew Rugova, as well as artists and thinkers to get their take on the depiction of the former president.

Head and face:
Rugova was known for walking with his head down, constantly thinking and pondering. The statue doesn’t quite get that right.

The scarf:
Looks like a glorified collar, rather than Rugova’s trademark flat-folded neckpiece. The loosely folded neckpieces are characteristic of glorified statues across the region (see: certain statues of benevolent Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito, or KLA freedom fighters Agim Ramadani and Zahir Pajaziti)

The coat:
The coat makes Rugova’s chest look bigger, and his figure fuller, than it actually was.

Hands:
The position of Rugova’s hand, as he if is predicting something from above, seems very out of character. In fact, he was known for more subdued gestures.

The walk: Artists with knowledge of Rugova’s life and work suggest that the statue would have been more appropriate if Rugova was portrayed walking.

Ibrahim Rugova Statue Quick Facts:
Height – 4.20 meters
Weight – approximately 1 ton
Material – approximately 1200 kg of bronze 
Technology – Mud and wax
Craftwork – 15 days

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