Aristophanes comedy adapted for Albanian reality

Aristophanes comedy adapted for Albanian reality

TIRANA, April 20 – Aristophanes’ ancient Greece “Assemblywomen” comedy is staging at the National Theatre as the “Power of Women” in a premiere brought by Albanian director Spiro Duni, unveiling how power alienates not only men, but also women. “I

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French, Albanian artists explore bridges

French, Albanian artists explore bridges

TIRANA, April 20 – French sculptor Claudy Pellaton and Albanian contemporary artist Enkelejd Zonja are exploring bridges in Albania in a joint Tirana exhibition. “It was an initiative by French sculptor Claudy Pellaton to open an exhibition with an Albanian

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Italy-based Albanian violin virtuoso electrifies in Tirana performance

Italy-based Albanian violin virtuoso electrifies in Tirana performance

TIRANA, April 20 – Italy-based Albanian violin virtuoso Olen Cesari and his International Clandestine Orchestra electrified Albanians in a comeback concert this week, two years after he promoted his first “Unexpected” album. Albania’s internationally renowned soprano Inva Mula, who has

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Durres honors ‘father’ of Albanian archaeology

Durres honors ‘father’ of Albanian archaeology

TIRANA, April 19 – Durres has honored Vangjel Toçi, known as the father of Albania archaeology, by naming after him a street close to the ancient Roman amphitheater which he discovered in the mid-1960s. The street naming came this week

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Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake makes comeback in ‘50s New York setting

Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake makes comeback in ‘50s New York setting

TIRANA, April 13 – Tchaikovsky’s famous Swan Lake will be making its premiere this weekend in Tirana in an adapted version by Enada Hoxha, the prima ballerina of the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet who along with her husband,

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Contemporary, socialist realism works showcase at National Gallery

Contemporary, socialist realism works showcase at National Gallery

TIRANA, April 13 – New York-based Albanian contemporary artist Zinni Veshi and Zef Shoshi, one of Albania’s most representative Socialist realism artists, are being showcased in two separate exhibitions at the National Art Gallery in Tirana. Albania-born and educated Zinni

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‘Equus’ play breaks taboos in Albanian theatre history with first nude scenes

‘Equus’ play breaks taboos in Albanian theatre history with first nude scenes

TIRANA, March 30 – Young Albanian actor Igli Zarka has broken taboos at the Albanian National Theatre with his debut role in British playwright’s “Equus” drama, appearing nude on stage as he performed the role of teenager in a show

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New York-based artists explore human forms in Tirana display

New York-based artists explore human forms in Tirana display

TIRANA, March 30 – More than a dozen contemporary New York-based artists including Albania-born Alkan Nallbani and Emil Bakalli will be featured in a collective Tirana show, exploring what they call “fractured body” and human forms. “This show is comprised

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Visitors invited to confess what they were doing when dictator died

Visitors invited to confess what they were doing when dictator died

TIRANA, March 30 – The death of Albania’s Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha in April 1985 after ruling the country with an iron fist for about four decades since the end of World War was experienced as a national tragedy in

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Marubi pictures make debut U.S. showcase

Marubi pictures make debut U.S. showcase

TIRANA, March 23 – More than a hundred pictures of the famous 19th and early 20th century Marubi photo collection are being showcased in Connecticut at a gallery run by an Albanian artist in their first trip to the U.S.

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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 20 - Aristophanes' ancient Greece “Assemblywomen” comedy is staging at the National Theatre as the “Power of Women” in a premiere brought by Albanian director Spiro Duni, unveiling how power alienates not only men, but also women.

"I wanted to convey the message of how demagogy and endless promises by those seeking to assume power are only tools and lies are what dominates after coming to power," says director Duni, who is staging the ancient Greek comedy with some crucial changes, adapting it to the Albanian reality.

“It was not my intention to bring the ancient times of Pericles, but talk about Albania," says Duni, also known as an actor and film director.

"I took the nature of conflict from Aristophanes, the basic events, the expressive dialogues and harmonized them in a new work which is neither ancient Greece, nor present day Albania or any other concrete country. A place with no name has been symbolically found as a setting where events take place, develop and ideas come up to somehow serve the mood and entertainment of spectators," says Duni.

Actress Flaura Kureta who stars as Leonora in the comedy says the character she plays is the aspiration of thousands of demagogues and adventurers around the world and does not necessarily represent a woman. “That could have perfectly been a man," she says.

A cast of 20 actors with Naun Shundi, Rajmonda Bulku and Elia Zaharia also starring will be performing the comedy this weekend from April 21 to 23 at the National Theatre after following its April 14 premiere.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 20 - French sculptor Claudy Pellaton and Albanian contemporary artist Enkelejd Zonja are exploring bridges in Albania in a joint Tirana exhibition.

"It was an initiative by French sculptor Claudy Pellaton to open an exhibition with an Albanian artist. As an artist representing Albania, I will participate in another France exhibition with different works. That's a form of communication between two countries through the language of art," said Enkelejd Zonja, a Tirana-based 38-year-old artist.

French artist Pellaton who has also featured Albanian motifs in his paintings and sculptures, says bridges are an inspiration to him.

"I have seen a lot of bridges around the world and in the Balkans, but when I visited Albania I noticed that bridges here were a lot more specific and I could see artistic motifs in them. There is something special that inspires me about these bridges and their stories," said the French painter.

Albania boasts several bridges dating back to Ottoman times, including the landmark Gorica bridge at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Berat.

The "Three Bridges" exhibition will remain open at the National History Museum until April 26.

 
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 20 - Italy-based Albanian violin virtuoso Olen Cesari and his International Clandestine Orchestra electrified Albanians in a comeback concert this week, two years after he promoted his first “Unexpected” album.

Albania's internationally renowned soprano Inva Mula, who has performed in some of the world's best Opera Houses, including Paris, Milan and provided the voice of the 'Diva' alien in “The Fifth Element” Hollywood movie during her three decades of career, was a special guest along with Mexican musician Calros Paz and Italy's Lavinia Mancusi.

"Thank you Mother Albania for last night. You blast it. I feel blessed to also have had with me the Albanian diva Inva Mula whom I meet again after several years since the Albanian centenary independence in 2012," said Cesari.

The 42-year-old artist grew up as a violinist in Albania in the 1980s under communism when he was considered a child prodigy and managed to get a university degree at the age of 13 before leaving to study in Italy in 1989 on a scholarship.

"Improvising is part of my life. I adore it. There is kind of interaction with the public in my concerts, we set up a relation and when the public transmits energy, I give it back," Olen Cesari said about his new concert.

The musician who has toured about 90 countries with his band, says parents in Albania should motivate their children to engage in arts at a young age considering Albania's prestigious schools.

"Music is like foreign languages, I would advise everybody to put their children in contact with sports and music at a certain time in life and then it is up to them if they continue. We have good arts and ballet schools, but we are okay only with arts," he told reporters.

Olen Cesari performed for two consecutive nights on April 19 and 20 in sold-out concerts. His International Clandestine Orchestra includes six musicians from three continents which Olen describes as a 'culture mix" making it more special.

"Albania and Italy where I live are really special and I feel comfortable," says Cesari.

His "Unexpected" first album comprises nine traditional classics and four original tracks all composed and arranged by Olen who take one to various countries around the world, “perhaps those dearest to the musician's heart in a kaleidoscope of expeditions into the very heart of these nations, explorations accompanied by voices and musicians of the highest caliber.”

Born in Durres, Albania, Olen started studying violin at three years of age guided by his mother, herself a concert violinist. Granted a scholarship, in 1989 Olen moved to study in Italy and embark on an international career.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_132053" align="alignright" width="252"]The 4th Century B.C. "Beauty of Durres" mosaic redescovered by Vangjel Toçi  The 4th Century B.C. "Beauty of Durres" mosaic rediscovered by Vangjel Toçi[/caption]

TIRANA, April 19 - Durres has honored Vangjel Toçi, known as the father of Albania archaeology, by naming after him a street close to the ancient Roman amphitheater which he discovered in the mid-1960s.

The street naming came this week on the International Day for Monuments and Sites and amid debates over a controversial project the Durres Municipality is carrying out following the discovery of some ancient ruins raising questions marks over the construction of a luxury veil-like square.

The country's second largest city and the traditional most popular destination in Albania, owes much of its archaeological heritage to Vangjel Toçi, who dedicated all his life to excavating ancient ruins dating back to ancient Rome. In addition to the landmark Durres amphitheater discovery, the largest in the Balkans, Toçi who passed away at the age of 77 in 1999, is also known for discovering the "Beauty of Durres" mosaic and the Roman thermal baths. He is also known as one of the founders of the Durres library, the local archaeological museum and the Anti-fascist national liberation museum, currently known as the Martyrs' Museum.

"Vangjel Toçi is one of the most renowned personalities not only in Durres but the whole national heritage and due to his dedication in the great archaeological discoveries, he brought added value to Durres, bringing to light great works visited by all tourists to Durres," said Durres Mayor Vangjush Dako, adding that the decision to name the street after Vangjel Toçi was unanimously approved by all municipal councilors.

Socialist Party mayor Dako, now in his third consecutive term as head of Durres municipality, has recently come under fire by cultural heritage experts and activists for the controversial “Veliera” project after the discovery of some ruins, leading to the partial suspension of works.  The 6-million euro government-funded “Veliera” project will be a 12,000 m2 square with a giant 2,000 m2 veil and is expected to be inaugurated ahead of the upcoming June general elections.

A court has ordered the partial suspension of construction works over the controversial project to build a luxury veil-like square in front of the country’s biggest port of Durres that risks burying ancient ruins in concrete next to the landmark Durres castle and Venetian tower until a final decision by the National Archaeology Council.

Boasting 3,000 years of history, Durres is known for its cultural moments from the Roman and Venetian periods, in particular fortifications and an amphitheater, the largest of its kind in the Balkans, which dates from the reign of the Emperor Hadrian (AD 117-138).

According to Vangjel Toçi, the amphitheater was built under Roman emperor Trajan (98-117 A.D.), when a library was also built in the city. These works were part of an Imperial urban master plan which on the one hand catered to the entertainment needs of the populace and, on the other, enhanced the cultural status of the city. Italian archaeologists of the University of Parma who conducted research at the amphitheater for about a decade until 2015 say the amphitheater was apparently abandoned in the second half of the fourth century A.D. due to a ban on gladiator sports, but perhaps the damage caused by the earthquake in 346 A.D. is a more plausible reason.

The amphitheater was well known, and perhaps also partly visible, as far back as 1508 as mentioned by late Middle Ages Albanian writer Marin Barleti a contemporary with the country’s national hero Skanderbeg on whom he also penned a biography.

Back in 2013, the Durres amphitheater was shortlisted by leading European heritage organization Europa Nostra for the ‘The 7 Most Endangered’ programme.

“The discovery of this magnificent early 2nd century amphitheatre, which remained unknown to the world until the 1960’s, put the ancient city of Durrës back on the map of historic sites in Europe. It also poses a major challenge to ensure a successful integration of the site into the urban fabric and local community of Durrës,” says Europa Nostra.

The new bigger municipality of Durres following the 2015 administrative reform has a resident population of 175,000 people and includes five former coastal municipalities and communes.

The city’s population more than doubles in summer with dozens of thousands of local and foreign holidaymakers.

Founded in the 7th century BC under the name Epidamnos, Durres has been continuously inhabited for 27 centuries and is one of the oldest cities in Albania.
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, April 13 - Tchaikovsky's famous Swan Lake will be making its premiere this weekend in Tirana in an adapted version by Enada Hoxha, the prima ballerina of the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet who along with her husband, principal dancer Gerd Vaso will be the ballet's choreographers and key performers in the opening night.

Enada Hoxha, who has been dominating Albania's classical ballet stage for about two decades, says she has decided to set the ballet from its original Russia to the New York of the 1940s, but preserving the gist of one of the most popular of all ballets.

"This work has been staged by different choreographers in different ways, from the classical to modern genres and crazy phantasy. This will be our 'lake,'" says 40-year-old Enada Hoxha.

"It will be a ballet show, a ballet movie and musical which approaches spectators through a special dimension," says Hoxha, who will be performing with her husband Gerd Vaso in the opening performance on Friday, April 14.

"I have always been a fan of the 1940s dancer Fred Astaire and our work will be an 'Americana' conveying the American spirit of that time," she added.

The New York of the 1940s and '50s will replace Russia while a water fountain has been set instead of the lake waters. The evil sorcerer has been replaced by a gangster. The stage and costume designs also bring a different approach but always adapting to Tchaikovsky's music which in this work comes through an elite dancing style of the 1950s but preserving the basic swan moves.

Spanish conductor Ricardo Casero is back in Tirana to conduct the orchestra after the 2016 Nutcracker experience with Albania's National Theatre of Opera and Ballet.

Composed by Russia’s Tchaikovsky and debuted by the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow in 1877, “Swan Lake,” tells the tale of a princess turned into a swan by an evil curse, having become a tradition in ballet stages around the world.

With the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet under reconstruction, the ballet will stage at the Palace of Congresses, another landmark building in downtown Tirana. The piece which is making its comeback in Tirana after 13 years will show for three consecutive evenings from April 14 to 16 at 19:00.

Fifty years after its construction under Albania’s communist regime, the National Theatre of Opera and Ballet, Albania’s solo performing arts institution of its kind, is set to be renovated under a €8.6 million government funded project.

The 30-month reconstruction, already underway, is set to finish by June 2019 in a project that will make a thorough renovation that involves architecture, stage design, acoustic and air-conditioning systems.

While the National Theater will be under reconstruction, its artists will be performing in other stages in Tirana and outside the capital.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_131989" align="alignright" width="300"]Painting by Zinni Veshi Painting by Zinni Veshi[/caption]

TIRANA, April 13 - New York-based Albanian contemporary artist Zinni Veshi and Zef Shoshi, one of Albania's most representative Socialist realism artists, are being showcased in two separate exhibitions at the National Art Gallery in Tirana.

Albania-born and educated Zinni Veshi, who has been living and working in the U.S. for the past two decades, is back home with a solo "Beyond the figurative" show .

Curator Krenar Zejno says Veshi's exhibition brings back contemporary oil on canvas paintings to Albania.

"Zinni Veshi is a human figure painter. Every painting of his is an exposé of a portrait in group as well as an exhibition of portraits. It's like an aggregate of an underground train with everywhere profiles at unknown stations. New York, the city where the author lives and creates his colors, is like a coincidence station, typical to give the urban coloring," says the curator.

Zinni Veshi, who since 1998 has been living in New York where he also runs his own studio, says his paintings "express, articulate, and bring to life deep feelings, ideas or impulses that are fundamental to my existence.”

"There are three factors that comprise the essence of my works: oil paint as a material; non-descriptive means of expression; and the non-representational use of the human figure,” he has earlier said.

Veshi’s exhibition at the National Art Gallery will be open from April 14 to May 10.

Meanwhile, veteran painter Zef Shoshi, brings a retrospective exhibition of more than five decades of experience as an artist.

[caption id="attachment_131990" align="alignright" width="300"]Socialist realism painting by Zef Shoshi Socialist realism painting by Zef Shoshi[/caption]

This exhibition brings a collection of 38 works in genres like composition, portrait, landscape and pastel drawing, dating from 1956 to 2014.

Having graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy in the 1950s, Shoshi is also known as the painter of the portraits of late communist dictator Enver Hoxha and important political events during the communist period.

Artan Shabani, the director of the National Arts Gallery, says Shoshi is one of the most realistic Albanian artists known for his paintings and compositions dedicated to work in the agriculture sector and the National Liberation war at the end of World War II.

Shoshi's exhibition at the National Art Gallery will be open until April 30.

The two exhibition come after masterpieces of Italy’s 20th century art were displayed in Tirana in one of the most special exhibitions Tirana’s National Art Gallery has hosted along with the 2010 showcase of some of greatest global masters such as Picasso, Warhol, Clemente and Chagall.

The exhibition featuring wonderful women portraits, famous people, still life, landscapes, views from the Eternal City and Roman lowlands that inspired great 20th century Italian artists such as Balla, Carrà, De Chirico, De Pisis, Capogrossi remained on display for three months until early April.
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                    [post_content] => zarka 2TIRANA, March 30 - Young Albanian actor Igli Zarka has broken taboos at the Albanian National Theatre with his debut role in British playwright's “Equus” drama, appearing nude on stage as he performed the role of teenager in a show receiving mixed reactions.

Dino Mustafic, the renowned Bosnian director of Albanian origin, was applauded in Tirana for daring to stage a tough contemporary piece and featuring the first explicit nude role in the 70-year history of Albania's National Theatre.

"It's a play that makes us reflect on our conscience so that we can understand how much we have evolved as human beings. This performance also makes us reflect on ourselves and freedom and how much the society, lack of civilization and everybody makes us destroy our freedom," the 47-year-old director said about his Albania “Equus” premiere.

Shaffer’s 1973 play about a psychiatrist’s attempt to treat a young man obsessively fascinated with horse, “Equus” creates a chilling portrait of how materialism and convenience have killed human capacity for worship and convenience. “Rarely has a playwright created an atmosphere and situation that so harshly pinpoint the spiritual and mental decay of modern man,” one critic wrote of the play written by Shaffer, an award winning playwright and screenwriter who died in mid-2016 at the age of 90.

Commenting on the much-rumored nude scene, Mustafic described it as an expression of freedom.

"No, it's not nude, that is his costume. Our Alan rides outdoors. He takes pleasure in freedom. We are also free when we don't have clothes on. The body is an actor's instrument. A body on the stage is never a provocation. It has inspired from Michelangelo's era to present day. If beauty can be a provocation, then I did it intentionally," Mustafic told reporters about his play, staged at the National Theatre in Tirana from March 17 to 20.

Speaking about his debut role as Alan Strang at the National Theatre, young actor Igli Zarka said "it was something fantastic, the whole public supported our performance because the play is not about nudity."

"We worked with so much love. The first time I appeared nude, just one night before the dress rehearsal, everybody supported me, which encouraged me to appear again and again," said Zarka.

Being in the limelight for the first nude role, Igli Zarka, who has just graduated in acting from Tirana's Academy of Arts said he was hardly coping with it.

"Nevertheless, I am not used to handling all of this," he said.

Journalist Alma Mile said there were mixed reactions to the show, an all-Albanian performance with veteran actor Timo Flloko starring as the psychiatrist.

"During the interval acts, when the public had the opportunity to exchange thoughts with each other; there were also people who didn’t consider that theater, somebody called it courageous for the Albanian stage where nudity is still taboo, another one experienced it in the most normal way while somebody found it inappropriate," Mile wrote.

"Despite the excesses, ‘Equus’ is a special work that targets beyond the everyday, a challenge for the theatre and actors performing in it. A work that will be long remembered by the public, hopefully not only because of the fact that a young man appeared nude," she added.

 
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                    [post_content] => FABTIRANA, March 30 - More than a dozen contemporary New York-based artists including Albania-born Alkan Nallbani and Emil Bakalli will be featured in a collective Tirana show, exploring what they call "fractured body" and human forms.

"This show is comprised primarily of living New York City artists working in a variety of media, who are all inspired by the human form. These artists have extraordinarily diverse creative approaches to this very old subject," says the FAB gallery of Tirana's University of Arts where the collective exhibition will remain open from April 3 to 17.

The media represented ranges from paintings to bronze casting, resin casting, video, and inkjet printing just to name a few, with the way artists representing the figure differing as dramatically as their material choices.

“These artists’ works are an amazing cross-section of the deeply personal, eccentric, and culturally specific ways that we approach our creative and physical selves,” says the FAB art gallery.

Among the participant artists, Albania-born and educated, New York-based artist Alkan Nallbani, uses oil paint and ink in energetic and fluid ways to bring to life figures that might otherwise be static.

Emil Bakalli is another Albanian artist based in New York where he also works as an arts professor that will be featured in the collective exhibition of eighteen international artists.

Artists Jane Lafarge Hamill, Eddie Chu, and Brett Rogers riff on classical portraits. But, through their idiosyncratic working methods, the resulting paintings verge on being almost completely abstract and nonrepresentational.

Artists Michael Grey and Brian Christie approach the figure from a scientific background. Grey studied genetics and Christie runs a successful scientific illustration firm. Both of these artists deconstruct the human form based on an intimate understanding of the hidden bodily systems that support and sustain our lives.

Jerry Kerns, John Jacobsmeyer, and Jason Bereswill look at the way the figure is portrayed in popular culture. Kerns takes his material from comics and pulp illustrations, Jacobsmeyer, is clearly inspired by the artificial worlds of video games, and Bereswill lifts his sources directly from the hero worship imagery of surf magazines.

Classical materials and forms are used in both Alkan Nallbani and Graham Day Guerra’s works. Guerra cobbles together references from artists such as Durer and Vesalius, and then overlaps them to make his complex webs of drawings. Michael Rees rounds out this group with sculptures that are comprised of parts of the human anatomy put together in ways that perhaps only he fully understands. He has created a private syntax of thumbs, skulls, and intestines, organizers say.

Participant Artists: Alkan Nallbani / Graham Day Guerra / Norm Paris / Jason Bereswill / Jane La Farge Hamill / Michael Joaquin Grey / Paul Jacobsen / Brett Rogers / John Jacobsmeyer / Emil Bakalli / Jonny Detiger / Bryan Christie / Nick Knight / Jamie Adams / Michael Rees / Kevin Zucker / Andrew Raftery / Eddie Chu

Where: FAB art gallery, University of Arts, Tirana

When: April 3 to 17
                    [post_title] => New York-based artists explore human forms in Tirana display
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                    [post_content] => TIRANA, March 30 - The death of Albania's Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha in April 1985 after ruling the country with an iron fist for about four decades since the end of World War was experienced as a national tragedy in Albania as in many other communist countries where these leaders were admired massively, but secretly made happier about 100,000 people who were persecuted by being mostly interned, imprisoned and even killed for political reasons.

Albania artist Ilir Kaso, a visual arts professor, is looking back how people experienced the dictator's death about three decades ago, when he was only a three-year-old child and is trying to collect new testimony by visitors to the exhibition who were older and remember more about the dictator's death on April 11, 1985 at the age of 76. The communist regime continued for another five years until the early 1990s when the first multi-party elections were held.

"I don't remember much what happened on that April day of 1985. It was Thursday. I wasn’t even three years old yet when the day suddenly stopped and attention shifted somewhere else," says the 35-year-old artist about his "What were you doing when the dictator died" exhibition.

"The only thing I have not forgotten is the people's faces, they were similar. There was also joy for somebody that day, but they couldn't celebrate, on the contrary, they had to cry. There were also people who couldn't cry but bit their cheeks in order not to laugh at distorted faces. Maybe that day somebody lost a loved person and couldn't cry about them, because the dictator was dead," says Ilir Kaso.

The artist says he will turn his exhibition facilities into a recording studio, inviting visitors to confess their stories.

The exhibition at the Zeta art gallery, one of Tirana's best private run contemporary spaces, will run until April 5.
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                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_131726" align="alignright" width="300"]marubi 4 Funeral ceremony, Kel Marubi, 1937[/caption]

TIRANA, March 23 – More than a hundred pictures of the famous 19th and early 20th century Marubi photo collection are being showcased in Connecticut at a gallery run by an Albanian artist in their first trip to the U.S. where an estimated 200,000 people of Albanian roots live.

Gjergj (George) Pali, an artist from Shkodra who managed to flee the country in the late 1980s just before the country's hardline communist regime was collapsing and has been living in the U.S. ever since opening dozens of exhibitions, says he is happy he is inaugurating his GR gallery in Stamford, Connecticut, with the Marubi exhibition.

"It's a great pleasure to inaugurate this gallery and successfully conclude this initiative with friends from Shkodra to have Marubi here," says Pali, a 60 year-old artist who a couple of years ago came back to Albania with an exhibition in Tirana.

Curator Vladimir Myrtezaj described Pali’s May 2015 "Journey" exhibition in Tirana as an intensive artistic research, a fertile imagination, which combines well the genres of painting and collage.

“His work rests upon two main pillars: one is a current of subconscious reminiscence closely related to music, which he often transforms in a thoroughly instrumental form in his paintings, while the second comes from the author’s traumatic journey during which he often considers the origin of life describing it through an openly tragic humor in his paintings,” says the curator about Pali, who escaped Albania for political and artistic reasons in January 1988 at a time when people crossing the border were also executed, imprisoned and had their families interned.

Lucian Bedeni, the director of the Marubi national photo museum in Shkodra, says the exhibition serves promoting cultural heritage.

[caption id="attachment_131728" align="alignright" width="300"]marubi 3 Ships at docks, Kel Marubi, 1913[/caption]

"At a time when everybody seems interested in politics, we should not lose focus on promoting cultural heritage such as Marubi," Bedeni told VoA in the local Albanian service.

The "Life in images" exhibition features 150 black and white pictures portraying men and women from all social classes in their daily life at the end of the 19th century, when the first Albanians migrated to the U.S.  The pictures reveal a people anchored to their traditions, fierce guardians of their identity, set against the backdrop of the flourishing city of Shkodra, says curator Zef Paci.

The selected pictures are part of the newly restored Marubi national museum of photography in Shkodra, home to home to 500,000 photos and negatives tracing the beginning of Albanian photography in the 19th century by capturing life and historic events in Albania and the region.

The exhibition at Gjergj Pali's GR Gallery in Connecticut will remain open for four months until July 17.

Albanian photography started with Pietro Marubi, an Italian immigrant fleeing political repression from his country. He opened Albania’s first photography studio in 1858. Three generations of Marubis followed in his footsteps. For about a century, the Marubi family amassed more than 500,000 negatives. The selection of pictures reveals the political, social, cultural and religious diversity of the country.
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            [post_content] => TIRANA, April 20 - Aristophanes' ancient Greece “Assemblywomen” comedy is staging at the National Theatre as the “Power of Women” in a premiere brought by Albanian director Spiro Duni, unveiling how power alienates not only men, but also women.

"I wanted to convey the message of how demagogy and endless promises by those seeking to assume power are only tools and lies are what dominates after coming to power," says director Duni, who is staging the ancient Greek comedy with some crucial changes, adapting it to the Albanian reality.

“It was not my intention to bring the ancient times of Pericles, but talk about Albania," says Duni, also known as an actor and film director.

"I took the nature of conflict from Aristophanes, the basic events, the expressive dialogues and harmonized them in a new work which is neither ancient Greece, nor present day Albania or any other concrete country. A place with no name has been symbolically found as a setting where events take place, develop and ideas come up to somehow serve the mood and entertainment of spectators," says Duni.

Actress Flaura Kureta who stars as Leonora in the comedy says the character she plays is the aspiration of thousands of demagogues and adventurers around the world and does not necessarily represent a woman. “That could have perfectly been a man," she says.

A cast of 20 actors with Naun Shundi, Rajmonda Bulku and Elia Zaharia also starring will be performing the comedy this weekend from April 21 to 23 at the National Theatre after following its April 14 premiere.

 
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