Monuments, Memorials, Sculptures, Mosaics…
The idea of public art is to engage and involve the public, to offer distractions from the daily routine, to establish meeting points, to tell our stories, and in general to beautify the cityscape.
This photo blog will be an ongoing attempt to document the public artworks in Albania. As the gallery expands, so will the blog, and accompanying analysis and discussion.
This project is within the scope of Wikiproject Wikipedia Saves Public Art. Our gallery can be found on Flickr.com by clicking the link below.
Beginning September 29, works by contemporary Swiss and Albanian artists (Nikolin Bujari, Kueng Caputo, Ledia Kostandini, Matilda Odobashi, Guadalupe Ruiz, Susanne Schar & Peter Spillmann, Studio 203 & Romeo Kodra and Johannes Willi) will be exhibited along the Tirana-Shkodra highway. Tirana Art Lab has organized the exhibition as well as a bus tour of the artworks.
The artwork entitled ‘Inside Out” consists of a series of wall sections decorated to resemble things found inside a home. The large mosaic makes up 3 ‘carpets’, with a fourth ‘carpet’ next to it, as though being hung to dry on the wall. The piece also contains 2 mirrored mosaics, and 1 chalk board to encourage citizen interaction. The artist is Jedidjah Slagter, who was assisted by members of the local community from age 14 to 70 years. The artwork was made possible through the cooperation of community members, personal funding, and neighbourly labour. This project has no relation to Municipal or State government, and was supported by Ekphrasis Studio and the artist.
This artwork can be seen in front of the Ditart Centre, at the corner of Rruga Mustafa Lleshi and Rruga Pjeter Budi, on the way to the student city.
The following is a gallery featuring a selection of artistic representations of females in Albania’s public art.
Spring 2013, degradation is swift at the new 5 month old Independence Monument in Tirana
“Weeks, months after the death of my friend, Sabri Godo, with dozens of requests and initiatives came to me as mayor by his loving friends, to have his memory live on in the capital city” Tirana Mayor Lulzim Basha declared at the inauguration of the bust of politician Sabri Godo. The bust was done by Italian artist Paolo Viaggi.
Amazing that Tirana, and every city in Albania, continues to make monuments, without any attention to the care of existing monuments, such as the 5 month old ‘Monument to Independence’ standing in the centre of Tirana, which has been badly damaged and vandalized without any effort to make repairs. (See below or click here).
The state of the new Monument of Independence in Tirana as of April 7, 2013. (above)
Inauguration less than 5 months earlier (above)
A collection of remnants of pre 90′s Eastern Europe in the centre of Tirana. This installation was designed by Fatos Lubonja and Ardian Isufi, and is entitled ‘Post-bllok” (Checkpoint). It consists of a bunker that once guarded the site as well as mine shaft columns from Spac prison, and a segment of the Berlin Wall. Lubonja is a critic and novelist who served 17 years in prison before 1991. Isufi is an established artist who has exhibited internationally and has twice been awarded Onufri prizes.
Please check these links to mainstream media outlets for more information, and feel free to leave your thoughts about this installation, or any other artistic public spaces.
Ky regjim na kujton përditë bunkerin – Magdalena Ramohito
Post-bllok Memorial Inaugurated – Tirana Municipality
Plaques at former residences of ‘artists of the people’ in Tirana
Since 2007, the city of Korca has held an international sculpture symposium which has filled much of the city with art. The 2011 event can be viewed here.
In early February 2013, The Ministry of Culture and the National Art Gallery announced a competition for a statue dedicated to Dom Nicholas Kacorri, vice prime minister to Ismail Qemali in 1912.
Proposals are to be “figurative and realistic”. The chosen work will be made of bronze, and placed in Durres. An artist or group of artists must submit with three color photos (front, profile and back), with dimensions not smaller than A4 (29x21cm), a complete CV of the artist or group, and a personal photo of the artist. The competition begins on 1 April 2013 and ends on 29th April. The winner will be chosen by a jury from the MTKRS and the prize will be 1,700,000 lek.
Reports from media in May, 2013 state that the bust of Jashari that was previously in this location is now in the trash.
Inaugurated December 8, 2012, at the new “Democracy Square” in the Student City of Tirana. During the inauguration, Hajdari’s wife stated “I take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister who was the initiator of this memorial and it was he who gave the idea that this bust stand and where the student movement has begun”
Hajdari was a leader in the Student Movement of 1990, and was briefly the first Chairman of the Democratic Party of Albania. Four times elected MP (’91 Shkoder, ’92 Shijak, ’96 Bulqize, ’97 Tropoje), as well as an active supporter of sports. There had been several attempts on Hajdari’s life, including once in Parliament. He was finally gunned down in front of the Democratic Party Headquarters in 1998. While this case has been ‘closed’, many mysteries and theories remain in people’s mind as to what really happened to Hajdari.
New statue of King Zog I.
Ismail Qemali, first Prime Minister of Albania.
November 2012 is shaping up to be a big month for public sculpture, especially in Tirana. Already unveiled are the busts of former US President Wilson and Hero of the people Hasan Prishtina. Also coming are busts of Ismail Qemali, King Zog and several others later this week. This was announced in as part of a competition run by the National Gallery of Albania. The interesting part is that despite specific specifications for the Qemali monument the chosen sculpture was one that already existed in the Gallery’s collection, done by Odhise Paskali many years ago.
Here are the details of the competition for the Ismail Qemali statue, as outlined on the website of the National Gallery of Albania.
STATUE OF ISMAIL QEMALI
The height of the statue shall be up the 3 meters high.
The height of the pedestal shall be 1.20 meters high.
The width of the pedestal depends on the composition of the artist.
The inscription is part of the statue. Its placement and dimensions will be decided following the idea of the winning model, approved by the jury.
The artist/group of artists of the winning model receive a pre-tax artistic reward of 1,700,000 ALL.
It is also interesting to note that Point 17 of the general conditions for the competition states: The artist, or the group of artists, should bring in alongside the sketch model a photo of the model, a full CV and a personal photo. Such documentation is valuable for the work and discussions of the jury. It is also important for archival purposes. Interesting that the winning artist in this case is deceased.
On September 27 it was reported by Alma Mile that the Council of Ministers signed the funds to be used for the creation of several historical monuments marking the 100th anniversary of Independence:
– 57 108 870 (fifty-seven million one hundred and eight thousand eight hundred and seventy) ALL for monumental work “100 Years of Independence”.
– 12 013 258 (twelve million thirteen thousand two hundred and fifty-eight), for the realization of the monument dedicated Lushnja Congress, which will be located in the city of Lushnja.
– 5 365 020 (five million three hundred sixty-five thousand and twenty) ALL for the realization of the work monumental statue, dedicated to the figure of Hasan Prishtina.
– 5 460 180 (five million four hundred and sixty thousand one hundred and eighty) ALL for the realization of the work monumental statue, dedicated to the figure of King Zog I.
On August 3rd 2012, the newest piece of public art was unveiled in Albania in the village of Bushat, Shkodra. It was funded by the US-Albanian communities, paying homage to poet/priest Ndre Mjeda.
Also recently, the statue of Fan Noli was moved 50 meters from Murat Toptani street in front of the Institute of Sciences to an open spot adjacent to George W. Bush Street.
Speaking of George W. Bush, his statue is located in Fushe Kruja. The sculpture was unveiled on July 6, 2011 to mark the former president’s 65th birthday, and displays a short-sleeved Bush, standing in the centre of George W. Bush square.
Also new, is a sculpture of John Lennon in Durres. The sculpture was designed by artist Qazim Kërtusha, and was supported by the municipality of Durres, and a ‘private’ bank. The work has been in place since May, 2011.
At the end of October, 2010, the bronze bust of artist Sabri Tuci was stolen in Durres, not far from where the sculpture of John Lennon is situated. Previously, the letters attached the the description of the artwork had been removed as well. They have likely been sold as scrap metal. (Lennon’s glasses were also recently stolen).
This is not uncommon in Albania, and the struggles regarding art and heritage management are enormous. Vandalism, improper care and maintanance, natural degradation, theft and political decisions to remove and/or relocate public artworks are just a few of the issues. This last point is likely to be a major concern in the years to come, as talk continues to mount about removing all reminders of Communist Albania.
Artist Genti Tavanxhiu, originally from Shkodra, has become a very established sculptor throughout Europe, including 18 works in Italy, and others in Turkey, Germany, Spain, France Romania and UAE, yet he has only one work in Albania, in Korca, where has also been a participant in the International Sculpture Symposium.
In contrast, from the 1930s and well into the communist period, Odhise Paskali had completed around 600 sculptures, including still recognizable and cherished works such as Skanderbeg in Tirana, works are The Flag Bearer (Flamurtari 1932, Vlore), The National Fighter (Luftëtari Kombëtar 1932, Korca), The Mountaneer (Malësori), Jeronim DeRada, Naim Frasheri, Naum Veqilharxhi, The Unknown Soldier (Ushtari i panjohur), Vojo Kushi, Fan Noli, Onufri and Migjeni.
To view our gallery of public art in Albania, please click the following link: