Leander Varekamp

Leander Varekamp graduated in 2016 at the Foto Academie Amsterdam. During the FotoFestival Naarden his series ‘A Tradition is fading away’ is exhibited in Bastion Nieuw Molen. 

Burrneshas, better known as Sworn Virgins, are Albanian women who, often at a young age, have made the “choice” to go through life as a man. Sometimes it was a free choice, driven by the desire of independence or to avoid an arranged marriage, but often it was a necessary choice to save the family honour when a man was missing in the family.

The women swear a celibate life and dress and behave like a man. In return, they get the right of a man and they receive much respect of society.

They live mainly in the North of Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia. How many Burrneshas there are left is not exactly known, it would be a couple of dozen. It is a dying phenomenon.

For my portrait series I have photographed different Burrneshas from Albania and Kosovo.

Leander Varekamp - FotoFestival Naarden

Sworn Virgen, Mira Lajgi 1943 Kosovo – Pej