Exploring Albania with its great contemporary artists

Artists and an art exhibition of the Holy Mother Teresa by Gjergj Kola and sculptor Hevzi Nuhiu help Albania to be discovered along with its great contemporary artists.

The occasion of the exhibition was to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations between Albania and the Holy See which had been interrupted during communism. In recent years two popes have visited Albania: Pope John Paul II in 1993 and recently Pope Francis while the holiness of Mother Teresa has joined the shores of the Adriatic Sea.

One of the most moving speeches of the exhibition was that of the poet Visar Zhiti, who is also the Ambassador from Albania to the Holy See. The story of Visar is very touching because as a youngster he was imprisoned for ten years due to a poem. Ten years in a cell to the words that, after all, are words of love dedicated to life. But those ten years of suffering are found in the peace of his voice and his look that goes beyond the moment and will affect the heart.

The pictorial part of the exhibition, with portraits of Mother Teresa, has been entrusted to the skill and sensitivity of Gjergj Kola, an Albanian artist specializing in portraits. Gjergj paints people as if in a trance, getting into the spirit of those whose faces he portrays. His visions grasp the deeper aspects and arrive directly at the heart of the viewer.

Alongside the portraits, the exhibition continues with the sculptures of Hevzi Nuhiu work directly carved in olive wood that bring a more physical dimension of Mother Teresa, and that create a link between man and nature, between the divine and the earthly.

Exploring Albania is to discover more and more an effervescent country, where culture has assumed a key role in the new image that is being built. Poets, musicians, painters and sculptors are called to change prejudices and superstitions linked to the image of a closed country and not open to the world.

Not surprisingly Albania’s prime minister is that Edi Rama, painter and artist himself, who became famous when as mayor of Tirana he has started to paint with bright colors all the gray houses built according to an anonymous style during the communist regime.

The celebrations continue with a concert piano of maestro Alexander Gashi for whose skill he received an honorary Italian citizenship. The Gashi music penetrates with the same force of Gjergj Kola brushstrokes who ideally has depicted him in a portrait with Mother Teresa.

Albania’s greatness is to be discovered and the high level reached by its artists is now an established fact. One major contemporary artist is surely the sculptor Helidon Xhixha, whose works are exhibited in major museums around the world. Recently the artist has been collaborating with some works in the collection Fiam, a major Italian company active in the glass design. Vittorio Livi, company founder of Fiam in Pesaro, says that he wanted to enrich its offer of works and mirrors intended for refined international markets.

Culture has assumed such a vital role that the musician and composer Admir Shkurtaj created the work ‘The Shipwreck’ dedicated to the tragedy of the sinking of the Albanian patrol boat Kater I Rades in 1997. The work has already been presented at the Venice Biennale with great success

(This article is reproduced under licence from Energitismo Limited)