When a tree falls in Tirana…

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Recently in Tirana a landmark was destroyed.  And what was left in its place?  Well…nothing so far.  I am referring to the now notorious 200 year old tree that disappeared overnight in June 2012 from the centre of Tirana.

Why was it done, and why didn’t anybody know about it until it was gone?

Furthermore, being cut down from the property in front of the National Art Gallery of Albania, why wasn’t anything creative done in its place?  I’m sure a passionate Gallery Director would have at least spoken out about it, let alone done something about it, but I don’t recall a word from the current Director, Rubens Shima.

I do know however, that there are passionate artists who see life, even in a dead tree, as was the case in Nova Scotia, Canada when an iconic 175 year old Elm tree came down in a storm.  Countless individuals came together as 3 artists volunteered their skills and time to create a cultural triptych which is now on display at Canada’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grand Pré.

Creating sculptures from dead tree trunks has long been a significant cultural marker and tourist attraction around Nova Scotia, particularly in the town of Truro, but also throughout the world, including those recently done ‘Guerrilla Style” in the UK.

Certainly, when there has been talk of creating monuments to mark 100 years of Albanian independence, combining a 200 year old tree trunk, already in the ground in front of the National Art Gallery of Albania with a monumental sculpture would seem like a perfect marriage…but it was not to be, and likely was not even considered.

Shame on the Director of the Art Gallery, and shame on all those involved in the removal of A) an important piece of Tirana’s natural heritage; and B) a priceless artistic material that has been wasted forever.

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