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A Journey Unveiled:The struggles of Documenting a lesser-known Community 



Introduction:

In the vast tapestry of mythology, an unseen order governs all existence, interweaving characters and events to unveil the universe's secrets. Inspired by the enigmatic Illyrian mythology, I set out on a journey to unearth the traditions of my Albanian community. Embracing the persona of a mythological creature, the Ora, I aimed to bridge the gap between our present-day customs and the mystical world of ancient Illyria. This is a chronicle of my odyssey—its trials, triumphs, and the pursuit to reclaim our cultural heritage.

Mythological Lens and Research:

I delved deep into the intricate laws of Illyrian mythology, where I discovered the essence of our ancestors' beliefs. Through my book centered on the enigmatic Ora, I sought to unlock the mysteries of Illyrian folklore, exploring how their ancient tales resonate with our present-day traditions. By adopting a narrative myth-telling framework, I hoped to invoke a profound dialogue—connecting the living and the nonliving, uniting humanity with nature, and reconciling the eternal struggle between good and evil.

Challenges and the Power of Mentorship:

Throughout this quest, I encountered moments of isolation, feeling the weight of powerlessness as a young female. To overcome these hurdles, I embraced the value of mentorship, seeking guidance from luminaries in various fields. My interactions with renowned figures like Gani Jakupi, Kujtim Elezi, and Kilii Yuan provided me with invaluable insights. Their expertise and encouragement kindled my determination to create impactful protest art and tell our community's story.

Visualizing the Ora and Mitigating Bias:

Selecting the Ora, guided by the anchoring heuristic, proved pivotal. It was a creature that resonated with my memories from high school—its choice kindled the fire of inspiration. My artistic endeavor to illustrate the Ora stemmed from archeological artifacts held hostage in Serbia, breathing life into their spirit through my book. However, I remained mindful of potential biases and diligently sought perspectives from diverse Minervans. This collaborative process ensured a nuanced representation that defied the shackles of collective bias.

Ethical Endeavors and the Power of Purpose:

As I navigated uncharted waters, I was acutely aware of the ethical dimensions of my undertaking. My insecurities regarding age and experience dissipated when I adhered to the principle of ethical responsibility. Valuing ambiguity and engaging in critical analysis, I endeavored to present Illyrian mythology authentically. My dedication to ethical integrity aligned with my long-term goal of creating a cultural treasure for high school students, nurturing mindfulness of nationalistic biases.

Symbols, Visuals, and Engaging Narratives:

My conviction in the transformative power of symbols and visuals drove my creative process. Recognizing their ability to transcend language barriers, I embarked on a mission to create a book rich in imagery. Combining historical accuracy with artistic innovation, I sought to craft an engaging dual-coded narrative—captivating readers and fostering a deeper connection with our past.

Future Goals and the Path Ahead:

Beyond my book's completion, my aspirations are far-reaching. Armed with the NatGeo grant application and study guides on Illyrian Mythology, I envision a curriculum that ignites curiosity and nurtures our cultural heritage in high school classrooms. As my journey unfolds, I hope to harness the potency of art as a tool of protest, elevating the perception of its power within the Balkan community.

Conclusion:

This has been an enlightening journey—unveiling the hidden gems of our past, exhuming the wisdom of Illyrian mythology, and crafting a narrative that resonates with the present. My fervor to document and preserve our cultural legacy has been steeled by mentorship, ethical considerations, and artistic vision. I venture forth, emboldened by purpose, to unlock the secrets of our ancestors and shed light on our communal tapestry. This odyssey is a testament to the power of exploration, creativity, and the tenacity to reclaim what is rightfully ours.