A recap of culture in Albania during 2018

A recap of culture in Albania during 2018

Debates, confrontations and conflicts stirred the arts and culture sphere in Albania. Some issues are still left inconclusive, beginning with the National Theatre activities calendar, whether the National Library will move buildings, will the National Arts Gallery rehabilitate its strategy,

Read Full Article
77 year-old man takes care of old Berat church

77 year-old man takes care of old Berat church

Jani Pjetri is a 77 year-old man from Berat, who though retired, is independently working as the caretaker of the St. Mary Church in the village Sinje of Berat. Pjetri returned from immigration in 2010, to find the church abandoned

Read Full Article
Albanian lute heritage dates since 14th century

Albanian lute heritage dates since 14th century

By Sonja Methoxha A debate recently stirred Albanian people’s sentiments over the heredity of the musical instrument lahuta (lute). This came after Serbia managed to successfully submit to UNESCO its candidature of ‘’singing to the accompaniment of the gusle’’ as

Read Full Article
Women in business face hardships

Women in business face hardships

Even though women in Albania makeup half of the entire population, their path to entrepreneurship and business faces hardships. An investigative piece by Mimoza in the Voice of America Balkans inspects some of the issues businesswomen in Albania face. Women

Read Full Article
National Arts Gallery closes Onufri

National Arts Gallery closes Onufri

The pressively asked question as to what was happening to the annual national exhibition Onufri, the National Arts Gallery finally answered to the anticipating artists and public on the decision to close it. The exhibition was previously sought to be

Read Full Article
Shkodra celebrates Christmas with environmental exhibition

Shkodra celebrates Christmas with environmental exhibition

The end-of-year celebrations in Albania are a happy festivity of out nation, as the cities decorate their centers and streets with various shiny lights, trees and other objects. In Shkodra this Christmas a street exhibition called ‘’Environmental Crime’’ was set

Read Full Article
Albanians celebrate Christmas

Albanians celebrate Christmas

Thousands of Albanian Catholics, Christians and Orthodox people celebrated Christmas, one of the most important celebrations of their faith and religion. In Tirana people gathered in the churches to hold the traditional ceremony and other organized celebration concerning this festivity.

Read Full Article
Merry Christmas from Tirana

Merry Christmas from Tirana

As Tirana is the capital of Albania, there are numerous events to follow daily. Those events start from having a coffee at the countless cozy cafes around the city, to having a warm wine at the Skanderbeg Square, checking out

Read Full Article
Human-rights related “Movies That Matter” week marks tenth anniversary

Human-rights related “Movies That Matter” week marks tenth anniversary

Another year marked the annual tradition launched by the Embassy of Netherlands in Albania for holding the event Movies That Matter, corresponding to human rights issues. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which symbolically started on Dec.

Read Full Article
Convergence at Kalo gallery

Convergence at Kalo gallery

Galeria Kalo, a new emerging private arts gallery in Tirana where one can appreciate great pieces of artwork by Albanian renowned artists, including works of ambitious young modern artists, and international artists too. The Gallery promotes visual art through exhibitions

Read Full Article
WP_Query Object
(
    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 31
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [category_name] => culture
            [tag] => 
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [comments_popup] => 
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 1
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 10
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 31
                                )

                            [include_children] => 1
                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => IN
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [post_count] => 10
    [current_post] => -1
    [in_the_loop] => 
    [comment_count] => 0
    [current_comment] => -1
    [found_posts] => 3009
    [max_num_pages] => 301
    [max_num_comment_pages] => 0
    [is_single] => 
    [is_preview] => 
    [is_page] => 
    [is_archive] => 1
    [is_date] => 
    [is_year] => 
    [is_month] => 
    [is_day] => 
    [is_time] => 
    [is_author] => 
    [is_category] => 1
    [is_tag] => 
    [is_tax] => 
    [is_search] => 
    [is_feed] => 
    [is_comment_feed] => 
    [is_trackback] => 
    [is_home] => 
    [is_404] => 
    [is_comments_popup] => 
    [is_paged] => 
    [is_admin] => 
    [is_attachment] => 
    [is_singular] => 
    [is_robots] => 
    [is_posts_page] => 
    [is_post_type_archive] => 
    [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => d4f0090c96661cb7555f28d934cc5098
    [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 
    [thumbnails_cached] => 1
    [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => 
    [query] => Array
        (
            [cat] => 31
        )

    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  INNER JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (31) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 10
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 140028
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-01-11 15:30:32
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-11 14:30:32
                    [post_content] => Debates, confrontations and conflicts stirred the arts and culture sphere in Albania. Some issues are still left inconclusive, beginning with the National Theatre activities calendar, whether the National Library will move buildings, will the National Arts Gallery rehabilitate its strategy, will lahuta be claimed as an Albanian intangible cultural heritage, and what innovations will the new appointed Minister of Culture Elva Margariti bring to the table. 

2018 was a jarring year for the Albanian art and culture. The question artists are asking is whether will 2019 bring positive changes in this sphere, and all are hoping for the best. Below you have a listed recap of the most noted cultural issues throughout the year.

2018 as the year of Skanderbeg

skenderbeu

The year we left behind was an overall troubled one for arts and culture, where debates prevailed and issues are left unsolved or unanswered. However, some institutional circles organized a number of positive cultural activities in art and history world. One such activity were the exhibition with rare antiquaries on the figure of our national hero Skanderbeg at the Palace of Congresses. This was considered the most serious exhibition on the figure among the many throughout the year, which was announced as the Pan-national Year of Skanderbeg. 

The exhibition for our national hero at the Palace of Congresses displayed images, history books written in Milano since 1473, the Epistola gifted by Papa Pius II, Marin Barleti history of 1508-1510, and other materials from archives.

Debates with Ministry of Culture and continuous protests over National Theatre

Teatri-Kombetar-protesta

In the beginning of 2018, the artists gathered in objection of the 2010 law ‘’For art and culture,’’ changed in 2014. One contradicted point was the governmental centering of directorial appointments to institutions as National Cinematography Center, State Filmography Archives, and National Library. These directors are nominated by the Minister of Culture, then Mirela Kumbaro, then chosen by a direct decision from the Council of Ministers, but will still appointed by a direct order by the Culture Minister.

The Minister backed down from this bill, however the artists gathered again to battle against the government on its bill for demolishing the National Theatre. The government claimed that the building is too old and cannot be reconstructed, thus passed a bill in its demolition and construction of a new building by a certain predetermined construction company. Both the decision for demolition and the already given tender angered the artists for lack of transparency and undemocratic decision-making. They protested for a few weeks, yet prime minister Edi Rama said ‘’Whether you like it or not, the theatre will be demolished.’’

The proposed architectural project by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels wasn’t received well by artists, whereas artists, scholars and architects said that the theatre holds incontestable values for our history and cultural heritage. Thus, the protesters proposed a reconstruction of the building, even though the Institute of Construction reported that the National Theatre needed a 90 percent level of restoration. 

Protests began, some proposed their own projects, yet, former Minister of Culture Kumbo didn’t participate in any of the discussion panels organised by the Media Commision and artists. Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj did participate in some panels and promised that the theatre’s territory wouldn’t be violated. This caused that some figures as Robert Ndrenika, Arben Derhemi, Altin Basha, etc., to withdraw from the protest in reliance to Veliaj’s promise. This withdrawing caused a division among artists, some of whom still oppose the law, even though it passed twice with 75 votes in the parliament.

A pending reform for the Academy of Sciences

The need for change also knocked  at the Academy of Sciences’ doors on 2018. The academics delivered a platform to the Ministry of Education on Mar. 31, which is still waiting upon governmental approval. Academics Artan Fuga and Skender Gjinushi are still looking for a way out from the condition the institution has fallen. Recently Gjinushi said that the bill will be signed very soon and will correspond to the elections in the Academy for a director, deputy director and secretary.

National Library flooded after burning

The National Library endured a fire due to an electrical spark on Mar. 15, 2017, but fortunately didn’t suffer any irreplaceable damages. On June 23, 2018, Tirana had heavy rain showers which managed to flood the Library’s building and soak thousands of books and texts. Even though images of employees drying the texts with blow dryers or in the sun emerged in media, fortunately again, none of these suffered extreme damages and none of them were irreplaceable. Nevertheless, the Institute of Construction filed a report that the building is unsuitable for a National Library.

tar2-1

Democratic Party requests art decommunisation

An initial proposal by Agron Tufa about the docommunization of art, was discussed again by DP officials in 2018. The bill seeks to add an explanatory note to films and other artistic works produced during the social-realism regime which served the system’s propaganda, indicating their purpose to the public. This bill hasn’t be read yet in the parliament, yet it sparked debates among artists, writers and publishers.

A million Albanians didn’t read a book in 2017

Another debate was sparked by a report from the Albanian Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, which claimed that one million Albanians during 2017, hadn’t read at least one book, which implies the distancing of the Albanian reader from books. This report gave way to the movement ‘’ReadABook,’’ undertaken by publishers and the Ministry of Culture. 

The 21st edition of the Book Fair which opened its doors on Nov. 14 marked other issues that books face, such as bad translations, lack of orientation for the readers, and a forgetfulness of Albanian literature, especially for children. A media attention however, received the new book by renowned writer Ismail Kadare, ‘’When rulers dispute’’, which caused long lines of readers waiting to receive an autograph.

no-reading

Lahuta claimed by Serbs

The acknowledging from UNESCO of the Serbian ‘’singing accompanied by the gusle’’ and the instrument gusle which is similar to the Albanian lahuta (lute), as an intangible cultural heritage, wasn’t received well by Albanians and its media. Media claimed that Serbs stole our lahuta, and various musicologists said that lahuta is of Albanian origin. 

Yet, other scholars said that the lute is a Balkans instrument neither Albanian nor Serbian. Scholar Shaban Sinani who was part of the team responsible for preparing the documentation of Eposi i Kreshnikeve (Albanian Songs of Frontier Warriors), said that Serbia’s success isn’t an obstacle for ours. According to Shabani, the issue remains that our documentation has been stuck in lobbying since 2012.

Beethoven sonatas brought in Tirana by Tedi Papavrami

Beethoven sonatas were returned in Tirana on Nov. 3, 2018, thanks to violinist Tedi Papavrami. Papavrami came in Tirana with his new wife, Japanese pianist Maki Okada. He gave a concert with French pianist Francois-Frederic Guy at the Cultural Center of the Orthodox Church, and will be returning in Tirana again with other concerts.

Marc Chagall in Tirana

180 black and white prints from renowned 20th century artist Marc Chagall were exhibited at the Center for Openness and Dialogue, which is located at the prime ministry building. This exhibition was the last of a series hosted by COD, considered the most important one for 2018, which also closed the cultural year in that center. The prints displayed are illustrations used for Gogol’s Dead Souls, Shakespeare’s The Tempest and La Fontaine’s Fables.

chagall

Albanian film ‘’The Delegation’’ wins international award

The Albanian film ‘’The Delegation,’’ directed by Bujar Alimani and with a script by Artan Minarolli, won the Warsaw Grand Prix at the 34th edition of the International Film Festival in Warsaw.

Rare nautical map in Albania

A 1455 map by Genoese hartograph Bartolomeo Pareto for Papa Nicholas V, was exhibited at the Center for Openness and Dialogue as part of the Pan-national Year of Skanderbeg. The exhibition was made possible by architect and medieval hartography scholar Artan Shkreli. The map shows evidence of the influence of Skanderbeg in the Balkans and the spread of Albanian regions during the 15th century.

sken-8

The National Arts Gallery only hosts two exhibitions

Erzen Shkololli was appointed as the new director of the Albanian National Arts Gallery. In the beginning his appointment was well received by the artistic circles, but then he started showing lack of rectitude towards media and allowing only few exhibitions to be hosted in the Gallery. For 2018 only two exhibitions were hosted in the NAG, ‘’The transformation painter’’ from Edi Hila and ‘’Here- or rather there, is over there’’ by Flaka Haliti. 

If that wasn’t enough, the NAG together with the Ministry of Culture decided to give an end to the International Exhibition ‘’Onufri,’’ which allows an exchange among local and international artists, and gives an insight to the public about what is happening in the contemporary art sphere.

Eurovision 2019 representative song announced

Renowned singer Jonida Maliqi returned to the stage of the Song Festival after an 11 year-long absence. After winning the Festival, she will be representing Albania at Eurovision 2019 with the song ‘’Ktheju tokes’’ (Return to Motherland), composed and written by Eriona Rushiti. This song talks of the Albanian immigrants and calls them out, and will be sang in Albanian during Eurovision.

A sad year that separated us from great artists

Albania will miss great artists that contributed greatly to our arts and culture. The flying dancer Rexhep Celiku, art critic Gezim Qendro, Gjovalin Paci, Fadil Hasa, Ilia Terpini, Luan Qerimi, and Sulejman Dibra departed from this world.

Mid’hat Frasheri returns home

Nationalist’s Mid’hat Frasheri’s remains returned from the United States of America where he passed away in 1949 to Albania, and was buried at the Tirana Lake Park near his family members. A commemoration ceremony was held at the Academy of Sciences before his burial. Frasheri was the creator of the National Front, a national anti-communist resistance, he was a contributor of the latinised Albanian alphabet, was a writer and publisher of the first newspapers and magazines that adopted this alphabet.

1541927676_midhatfrasheri (1)
                    [post_title] => A recap of culture in Albania during 2018
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => a-recap-of-culture-in-albania-during-2018
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-01-11 14:09:12
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-11 13:09:12
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=140028
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 140024
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-01-11 12:53:08
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-11 11:53:08
                    [post_content] => Jani Pjetri is a 77 year-old man from Berat, who though retired, is independently working as the caretaker of the St. Mary Church in the village Sinje of Berat. Pjetri returned from immigration in 2010, to find the church abandoned and with a broken roof from stone rocks. 

The St. Mary Church is built around 12th or 13th century at the entrance of a cave. It is located in a difficult rocky terrain and is a pilgrimage location for the local and pan-national orthodox christians. In 2015 the Church was declared as a first category cultural monument.

There is a legend for its construction. Legend has it that the entire village got together to built this church, but as the walls were erected during the day, they would crumble during the night. Its foundations wouldn’t hold. So the villagers tried all sorts of locations for constructing the foundations of the church’s walls, but they still collapsed at night. 

One night, an old lady saw a dream that a fire ignited at the orifice of a cave underneath the cliff. The villagers went to built the church there, and that’s where it has been residing for past seven centuries. 

Over the years until Pjetri returned, the church seemed to have been forgotten by the authorities. Pjetri said that when her returned from immigration, the church had a broken roof, lacked electricity, a toilet, and stairs. As he considers the church a holy place, he assembled a few money and made some repairs by himself.

Jani-Pjetri-ne-kishen-e-Shen-Merise-duke-folur-per-Reporterin-533x400

However, he couldn’t manage to complete all the repairs himself as he didn’t have enough money, he created an association within the village, and individual contributors have donated money to complete the necessary restoration of the church. 

Pjetri goes each week at Sinje to take care of the church. He deals with lacks of funds from the respective authorities, such as the municipality of Berat, the Ministry of Culture, or even Mitropolia in Berat who is supposed to supervise the building. 

Apart from lack of fund Pjetri also has to deal with vandalism. On a Nov. morning, Pjetri found out that the charity box and the electricity supply cable were stolen from the church. He wasn’t much worried about the box, as it collects very little money, but he was worried about the cable. ‘’The last time I went to the church, I saw that a part from the [electricity] cable was stolen from the pillar, so immediately went to the store and bought a replacing cable with the last five thousand leks left from my pension. Now I am waiting for someone to connect it,’’ said Pjetri.

When he saw the stolen cable and bought a new one to replace it, he notified the Metropolia of Berat to send someone to connect it. The Mitropolia administers a considerable amount of churches spread around the district. With its funds, it can only pay one person to take care of the church. Pjetri said that when he asked for help from Mitropolia for the broken roof, they said they didn’t have economical capacities.

Afterwards, Pjetri went to the Regional Directory of Culture to ask for funds, but they helped them in very moderate amounts. Officials from this directory said that after St. Mary Church was declared a first degree cultural monument, there have been some minimal interventions with their funds. 

In 2017 the directory intervened to fix the roof of the church, after a stone had broken it. An official said that the Ministry of Culture has promised investments on this church in fixing the roof, as it is in risk of crumbling due to the stone falling from the cliff. However, when this restoration will begin is uncertain. 

So far the church has only had Pjetri and his friends taking care of it, even though Pjetri is a permanent visitor to the institutions. In a wall placate at the church, it lists Lili Devole, Llazar Lacka, Kristaq Mjeshtri, Arqile Shtyti, Nasi Ferro, and other departed villagers as contributors in keeping the St. Mary Church standing. 

At the center of Sinje village, Pjetri is always invited for coffee. Other villagers give him coins or candles for the church, as they have no time to go up there. They consider him as the man who returned the church its missed attention. 

‘’This man did what neither the municipality, nor Mitropolia, or any one else have done so far,’’ said Ilirjan Toska, village chief of Sinje. 

Everyone in the village regardless of their religious faith, hold the church as a holy place. Pjetri has occasionally asked for help from the villagers for the church. They have helped him not only due to their respect for the holy place, but also from their respect for Pjetri, who though old, he comes in summer and winter to take care of the church. 

‘’This church is holy, all the residents believe in its legend and uncle Jani its keeping it alive. We will be grateful to him all our lives,’’ said Fatmir Sakaj, resident of the region.

 
                    [post_title] => 77 year-old man takes care of old Berat church
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => 77-year-old-man-takes-care-of-old-berat-church
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-01-10 19:59:20
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-10 18:59:20
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=140024
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [2] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139994
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2019-01-10 10:18:19
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-10 09:18:19
                    [post_content] => By Sonja Methoxha

A debate recently stirred Albanian people’s sentiments over the heredity of the musical instrument lahuta (lute). This came after Serbia managed to successfully submit to UNESCO its candidature of ‘’singing to the accompaniment of the gusle’’ as an intangible cultural heritage. 

Panicked media in Albania rushed to conclusions that this successful submission means that the lute is not Albanian after all but Serbian. However, Serbia merely nominated in safeguarding the practice of singing using the gusle (Serbian lute), the instrument and its epos, but in the paperwork submitted it didn’t dispute that this practice is present in other Balkan countries, one of them Albania. 

Academic and musicologist Vasil Tole has said that the lute is not Albanian, nor Serbian, but a Balkan instrument. Its origins are said to have no distinct provenance. A team raised by the Albanian Ministry of Culture in which Tole participated, managed to complete its own documentation concerning this practice, our Eposi i Kreshnikeve (Albanian Songs of the Frontier Warriors), and other relevant practices, as intangible cultural heritage to UNESCO.

According to Tole, the five-thousand page documentation is supposed to have been submitted two years earlier than Serbia, but nothing has been done so far due to failed lobbying from the Albanian Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That is especially strange as the Albanian lute won the prize Europa Nostra, before the team submitted its paperwork to UNESCO.

If then Albania won the Europa Nostra for the lute, submitted its paperwork to UNESCO earlier than Serbia, and Serbia itself didn’t dispute the tradition in the Balkans, why did the latter country manage to submit its paperwork earlier than Albania? What is the known heredity of the Albanian lute, except the Eposi i Kreshnikeve?

Renowned ethnomusicologist Ramadan Sokoli, who passed away in 2008, published a book in 1991 titled ‘’Musical instruments of Albanian people.’’ He writes in the book that the earliest known testimony of stringed instruments in Albanian regions dates from 1335 in a painted fresco in the Desan monastery (located in Desan, Kosovo). 

The fresco depicts a group of men dancing under the sounds of the lahuta, glariska, tambour, and what Sokoli writes ‘the balloon,’ which might be something of a mousette. Sokoli writes that this fresco is the earliest evidence of stringed instruments in the Balkans. In his studies, Sokoli names the various lutes in various areas, along with the similarities and differences, where the main difference is the sounding. 

The north Albanian lahuta is a one-stringed lute made of horsehair which is played with a bow. The south Albanian llahuta, might have a similar name but is a four-stringed instrument played with a sort of feather. These instruments are built and sound differently. A variation of lahuta is laurija which is made with more than one string and is used in central Albania. These instruments are also inherited by Arbereshe Albanians in Italy and Arvanitasit, the Albanians of Greece.

These musical instruments, especially the lahuta, are used in the north to accompany songs depicting traditional epic stories of bravery or ballads based on Albanian oral legends. Except the renowned Eposi i Kreshnikeve, the north also has pagan songs sang with the lahuta for Kershendella (Christmas). Such songs are ‘’The night of Buzmi,’’ ‘’The returning of Sun from summer feast,’’ ‘’The night of the great Mother Earth.’’ These pagan songs sang with the lahuta are millenium-long heritages dedicated to nature’s rebirth.

In his book Sokoli also lists other nations which use variations of the lute. The southern Slavs from the Dinaric Alps use the gusle; India uses the ravanahatha; Kazakhstan use the kobyz; Armenia and Uzbekistan use the kamancheh, which is related to the rebab used in Arabia. Other similar instruments are the komuz in Kyrgyzstan, the erhu in China, the masenqo or chira-wata in Ethiopia, etc.. In Greece there is a variation of laurija known as lyre, and in Bulgaria and Macedonia they have the gadulka.

All these instruments are built and used similarly, but convey different musical expressions and sounds. These instrumental ‘cousins’ are descended from Middle East and Persia, countries which Sokoli and other scholars convincingly admit as the first to have adapted and used stringed instruments. These instruments then spread in the Balkans and Europe through the Byzantine Empire from VIII to IX centuries, and the Arab invasion in Spain. 

Yet, apart from the 14th century fresco, there are scarce evidence about how early Albania adopted this instrument and its practice. Nevertheless its tradition and influence is notable, especially in education. 

‘’It deserves to be noted the pivotal ethic and didactic role that the lahutars played in the life of our society, by preserving, developing and carrying through generations their repertoire. During the centuries-old captivity, the rhapsode songs which exalted the virtues, activity and freedom-loving spirit of the braves, bred the desire to follow the example of the finest in the listeners,’’ wrote Sokoli in his book, which clearly implies the intangible cultural heritage Albania and its people have garnered from the practice of this instrument.

 
                    [post_title] => Albanian lute heritage dates since 14th century
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albanian-lute-heritage-dates-since-14th-century
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2019-01-09 17:38:24
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-09 16:38:24
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139994
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [3] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139890
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-29 15:16:13
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-29 14:16:13
                    [post_content] =>  Even though women in Albania makeup half of the entire population, their path to entrepreneurship and business faces hardships. An investigative piece by Mimoza in the Voice of America Balkans inspects some of the issues businesswomen in Albania face.

Women are the half of the coin of a normal functioning of society, holding a crucial contribution in the welfare of both the economy and the social spectrum. However, in terms of establishing and carrying out private businesses they have faced various hardships towards survival and success. Only 35 percent of Albanian existing businesses as in the service, production or other sectors are owned by women.

Experts believe that women face more difficulties and discrimination than men in the business fields, even though issues faced might be the same, from corruption in customs and the tax agency, unfair competition and informality. A thrifting entrepreneurship from women positively affects the state’s economy and welfare, thus it is important to offer a kind of security. 

The Association for Entrepreneur Women have laid claims that post-90s policies and governances have undertaken limited works towards this interest group. However, since 2017 we have a state’s minister for entrepreneurial protection, who offers a few reliefs for businesswomen, considering their complaints. 

‘’After the 90s the first to overpower the great problems of poverty were women. Think of an unemployed person. Think of a person who has children to raise. And yet, women did it,’’ said Flutura Xhabija from the Professional, Business and Crafts Women Association. 

Even though we live in a patriarchal society with multiple hurdles where economical problems remain in abeyance unsolved, experts have noticed a positive trend in the progress of women owned businesses these past 28 years. 

Xhabija said that the number of female businesswomen has increased over the years. From previously 21 percent, the number has now grown into 33 percent without including the three percent of female farmers. As things are going more in balance, the crafts women are also receiving more weight. 

State economy observers claim that the investments of women is focused on the small business, or the family one. Female owned business in the country have usually started as small and medium individual businesses.

‘’A few are in judicial forms as limited liability company. These include from beauty salons, up to activities with consumer service nature, and fewer in production,’’ said Dr. Aelita Mani, director of the Business Administration Dept. at the Luarasi University. 

Out of 200 large business in Albania, only 37 are owned or led by women. Yet, the state’s minister for entrepreneurial protection is a female. The minister, Sonila Qato, seeks to help and safeguard the Albanian business.

Through various programs Qato aims to support women in Albania, also by enabling them qualifications and traineeship programs. From the two last fiscal packages approved by the parliament, one was especially for self-employment. 

However, as mentioned, women face more hardships in business success than men. Dr. Mani says that these issues come from the corruption in the customs, corruption in the tax service, and pressure. 

‘’We function in a different way and the tax agency cannot classify us. They give us solutions which hangs us around and confuse us, and then what happens is that two tax agents hide behind a tree across your store and wait until they catch you doing something wrong. If the government can’t help us, then it shouldn’t frustrate us,’’ said Manjola Lloja, director of craftsmanship store ‘’Nje mar nje mrapsh’’, with works of 250 women and girls from all over Albania.

The discrimination of businesswomen is a visible trait and it can be found in fiscal policies, quick information, and tenders for entrepreneurships. Other discriminations arise from the business model, employees, and annual profit. This discrimination also leads to less benefits, support, and more prejudice and vulnerability to blackmail. 

The minister for entrepreneurial protection Sonila Qato said that all businesswomen in Albania have an ally, since she herself is a woman. Qato said that she will try to understand their activities and offer solutions to issues with the administration. Some experts though, offer more concrete solutions as to how the government could help.

Dr. Mani said that help can come from easier fiscal policies on taxes which would incite more businesses to open, and fiscal policies to support loans or grants, even in cases where no ownership title exists. Xhabija said that the government should offer more funds and grants to women, and instead of putting percentages, to ask questions on how they make it.

Qato said that a concrete focus are women living in rural areas, first to enable them wages and secondly to give them a fair opportunity to compete for funds or state subsidies for agriculture.

Another field which remains to be notices is tourism. Women see themselves far from the resort investments, but prefer more authentic artisan works and traditional cuisine. Lloja said that there are more than enough resorts for tourism, but more should be on the little things. For instance, at the Kruja bazaar tourists can see how fezes are made. Another authentic Albanian touristic activity is offered in Shkodra in a small loom atelier, where women work the fabric by banging the batten with their feet.

The Albanian Investment Development Agency (AIDA) is one of the agencies which has financially supported hundreds of women to start their businesses. UN Women has also dedicated grants to entrepreneur women, and UNDP is focusing in women’s work qualifications. So, in a sense, progress is being done to support businesswomen, and that has left them a bit more optimistic.

‘’Hardships are forgotten when success is achieved,’’ said Xhabija optimistically.

 
                    [post_title] => Women in business face hardships
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => women-in-business-face-hardships
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-29 16:10:52
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-29 15:10:52
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139890
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [4] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139893
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-28 16:15:40
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-28 15:15:40
                    [post_content] => The pressively asked question as to what was happening to the annual national exhibition Onufri, the National Arts Gallery finally answered to the anticipating artists and public on the decision to close it. 

The exhibition was previously sought to be ended by the Ministry of Culture in 2016, yet the former director of the NAG, Artan Shabani decided to continue it, as he puts importance in tradition and he doesn’t see a real reason to put an end to this artistic tradition.

‘’I am aware that we have an arts scene, even though oftenly vague, because we don’t have many structures to promote contemporary art. Albania doesn’t have a museal network for contemporary art, even less a contemporary arts museum,’’ said Shabani. 

The annual national exhibition Onufri is a 20 year long tradition to promote Albanian contemporary art, and enable a network between the local Albanian artists and international ones. 

The presentation of contemporary and the artistic exchange was to happen in an environment lacking institutional support or independent initiatives. This led to Onufri mostly supporting the exchange, which also gave an push and input in creating new work methods and artistic practices. More independent initiatives to support the local-international artistic exchange also arized over the years.

NGA explained in a public declaration that past edition of Onufri exhibitions hasn’t been in the expected level of organization and presentational display of the artists. Moreover, the local-international exchange has mostly been fictitious as the foreign participating artists didn’t attend the exhibition. 

Another issue noticed was the approach of the curator. In a few past editions the curator would directly invite foreign artists to participate in the exhibition, whereas the Albanian artists would have an unfair selective process, which dimmed the public interest and the activities’ value. 

NGA also added that Onufri has fulfilled its purpose and it is now outdated. The Gallery aims a reconception of the presentation structure with a focus on arts developments and their reflections on crucial socio-economic changes in Albania and region. 

The artistic society has rebelled against this decision. Two loud voices which have spoken earlier on this issue, renowned painter and professor Gazmend Leka and art curator Andi Tepelena are denouncing the decision taken to end the exhibition.

Tepelena claims that the Minister has had in her agenda to give an end to this exhibition after all, after her previous trials failed. He added that Onufri also defines he political reactions, and it is thus another victim of this politics and governance. Yet, he said that some servile artists towards power are to blame for the conditions of the art in Albania today.

‘’It is the artists who should decide on this [ending Onufri]. This centralization of even the cultural life brings this result,’’ said Tepelena.

Leka on the other hand seemed pretty indignant over the situation. He claimed that the NGA has no power to give an end to the Onufri exhibition, but directs its staff in accomplishing the project. He calls the decision shameless and malicious. 

Leka also added that Onufri gave a chance to artists to find each other and see their work, but it also gave a chance to the public to see what is going on with the Albanian and international visual arts. 

‘’There is a great malevolence here, for this country which is torn apart precisely because of these sophisticated thoughts on modern art. Bollocks!,’’ exclaimed Leka.
                    [post_title] => National Arts Gallery closes Onufri
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => national-arts-gallery-closes-onufri
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-27 20:00:43
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-27 19:00:43
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139893
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [5] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139887
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-28 13:12:21
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-28 12:12:21
                    [post_content] => The end-of-year celebrations in Albania are a happy festivity of out nation, as the cities decorate their centers and streets with various shiny lights, trees and other objects. In Shkodra this Christmas a street exhibition called ‘’Environmental Crime’’ was set up by volunteers of the Ecomind movement. 

The youth installed the Christmas tree at the center of Shkodra made up of plastic bottles gathered from the streets of Shkodra, the lake and the Bojana river. The message sought to be transmitted is the need of ecological and environmental preservation that can be reached only if we work together. 

‘’This installation with recyclable bottles has a purpose to raise awareness among people about the environmental pollution. These bottles are gathered by us from all the mission we have carried out, and made the tree to show the nature preservation,’’ said Ecomind director, Mirsad Basha.

Basha said that the most polluted areas are the rivers, as cities and villages nearby have turned them into garbage cans. The areas near naval estuaries are also quite polluted which negatively affects nature and tourism. 

The estuary of Bojana river doesn’t only pollute the Albanian maritime, but it also polluted the Montenegrin part of the sea, which Basha said it creates institutional issues. Regardless of the legislation concerning the environmental protection, nature somehow still continues to be contaminated in most parts of the country. 

The exhibition of ‘’Environmental Crime’’ by the students of the Fine Arts Faculty was attending by the OSCE ambassador Bernd Borchardt. The ambassador said that garbage dumping in the environment or sewage, the forest exploitation and burning, as well as riverbeds damages, are some of the environmental crimes in Albania that still go uncondemned by the government. 

‘’These are visible and serious problems for which are done very limited criminal prosecutions. Last year [2017] only 32 cases related to environmental crime have faced the court. That is why it is important to raise awareness about issue related to the mutual nature and environment,’’ said ambassador Borchardt during the exhibition. 

Ecomind said that in the years to come the environmental preservation will be one of the most crucial issues for the Albanian society and governance. For that reason it is important that the society will be aware of nature’s significance, and work together to safeguard it. 

According to Basha all the bottles that make up the tree are found in the most beautiful and attractive parts of the lake, river and seashore. The message is pretty clear that attention and care should be paid, otherwise the ecological system might be harmed, and both lake might be ridded of fish and the forests harmed from the plastics. 

Lobbying and awareness campaigns are to be paid attention from the non-governmental organizations both towards civic society to educate them about nature preservation, but also towards institutions to profess the legislation. 

The institutions in the past few years have positively acted in combating the forest exploitation and hunting. However, the environmental crime is still present as hydropower dams on the rivers are still being constructed, and due to lack of garbage disposal deposits in urban areas, or their disposal in the rivers.
                    [post_title] => Shkodra celebrates Christmas with environmental exhibition
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => shkodra-celebrates-christmas-with-environmental-exhibition
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-27 19:33:19
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-27 18:33:19
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139887
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [6] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139884
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-27 18:27:20
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-27 17:27:20
                    [post_content] => Thousands of Albanian Catholics, Christians and Orthodox people celebrated Christmas, one of the most important celebrations of their faith and religion. In Tirana people gathered in the churches to hold the traditional ceremony and other organized celebration concerning this festivity. 

The religious leaders held the Christmas masses and called upon the followers to protect the poor and to peacefully cooperate with each other in order to lead a better life within the community. The religious leaders said that the Christ was born to help other people which are away from temporary luxuries, and that we should hold relations with them at each time. 

The coexistence among the religious communities is of the most notable characteristics of Albania and its people. The religious harmony is one of the most valuable features of the Albanian nation and religious tolerance is its most remarkable attribute. The religious believers respect one another’s festivities and participate in the joys of each one. 

Recently in Oct. 25, the Interreligious Council of Albania received the Polish Prize Sergio Vieira de Mello non-governmental human rights award, for their activities for the peaceful coexistence and cooperation of societies, religions and cultures. 

Our country has a long history of religious harmony between the various communities and its people. Citizens aren’t differentiated or discriminated for their religions as it is something deeply personal for them. Albania has been praised for its peaceful interactions between the religious communities and lately has been gaining more recognition.

Christmas was also celebrated by Albanian communities in the diaspora, such as Montenegro and Macedonia. The Albanian descendant nation of Kosovo also celebrated Christmas in a mass at the Mother Teresa Cathedral in Pristina, with wishes of prosperity, peace and understanding among the people.

The Christmas celebration of the Albanian community in Washington at the United States was joined by Charles Brown, Vatican’s ambassador in Albania, who held the mass in the Albanian language for the people there. The mass was dedicated to two beloved Albanian figures, our national hero George Castriot Skanderbeg and Mother Teresa. 

But this celebration excepted Albanians from various communities in the United States, and also from different religions, so as to celebrate Christmas in a real Albanian fashion.

 
                    [post_title] => Albanians celebrate Christmas
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => albanians-celebrate-christmas
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-27 18:28:27
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-27 17:28:27
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139884
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [7] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139822
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-23 15:00:55
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-23 14:00:55
                    [post_content] => As Tirana is the capital of Albania, there are numerous events to follow daily. Those events start from having a coffee at the countless cozy cafes around the city, to having a warm wine at the Skanderbeg Square, checking out the Museums and exhibitions at various galleries, nightlife, the numerous movies at the cinemas, or get inspired by the strong comeback of the National Theatre with its many shows at various locations. 

For Christmas Eve, the Municipality of Tirana and the Agency for Parks and Recreations will be organizing the annual ‘’Christmas in Tirana’’ concert at the stage of Skanderbeg Square on Dec. 24 at 7 p.m.. The symphonies of the most beloved Christmas carols, Noel, La Spagnola, Sing-Sing, Feliz Navidad, Silent Night, Jingle Bang, etc., will be played by the Tirana woodwind orchestra. The carols will be sang by Armando Kllogjeri, Ardita Meni, Linda Kazani and Suzana Frasheri, and the concert will be conducted by Valmir Xoxe.

For Dec. 25, the Christmas day, the charity organization EcoVolis will organize the annual ‘’Cook an extra plate’’ which is a charity event by cooking extra food and giving it away to the less fortunate. EcoVolis is stationed at Mother Teresa Square that day and will be gathering the food given by people and volunteers and then dispersing it to poor families. The idea behind this charity event is to make the less fortunate people feel as part of a greater family and closer to the community they inhabit, since Christmas is about family and spreading love. 

"But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round -- apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that -- as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys,’’ wrote Charles Dickens in his A Christmas Carol.

47377746_2279636718722878_8886687085210107904_n

 
                    [post_title] => Merry Christmas from Tirana
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => merry-christmas-from-tirana
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-20 20:05:22
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-20 19:05:22
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139822
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [8] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139811
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-22 13:00:23
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-22 12:00:23
                    [post_content] => Another year marked the annual tradition launched by the Embassy of Netherlands in Albania for holding the event Movies That Matter, corresponding to human rights issues. This year was the tenth anniversary of the event, which symbolically started on Dec. 10, the Human Rights Day.This event in Tirana is a derivative from the annual Movies That Matter event about human rights which takes place in the Netherlands. 

Five different movies were screened by different civil society organizations and educational institutions in Tirana and Fier. The films are human rights issues, peace and freedom followed by a discussion panel. 

The mission of Movies that Matter is to open people’s eyes to human rights through film. Moving images can create insight into human rights with their emotional and immediate impact, and encourage dialogue about it.

The festival consists of two main programs, one is the Activist (previously as A Matter of ACT), on human rights defenders, in partnership with Amnesty International, and the other is Camera Justitia, made possible by the vfonds foundation, which focuses on the importance of the rule of law, the ongoing fight against impunity, and related topics. 

The film screenings in Albania were from Dec. 10 until 17, and started and ended with the film The Poetess. The screened films are described as below:

The Poetess is a film documentary about  Hissa Hilal, a 43 –year-old woman from Saudi Arabia, who achieved international fame after being the only female in a televised talent competition for Arabic poets. Her poetry is controversial: she criticizes extremist fatwas and is an advocate of women’s rights. Based on talks with Hissa and TV clips from the show, the documentary paints a picture of Saudi society; how public life changed drastically for women over the years due to increasing strictness and increasingly extreme religious rules and regulations.

Jaha’s Promise is a documentary about the life and activism of Jaha Dukureh, a Gambian anti-female genital mutilation campaigner who returns to her country of birth to confront the harmful tradition that she and 200 million women and girls have undergone globally. This practice has mostly occurred in war prevailing countries in Africa, Middle East and Asia.

Mr. Gay Syria follows two gay Syrian refugees who are trying to rebuild their lives. Husein is a barber in Istanbul, living a double life between his conservative family and his gay identity. Mahmoud is the founder of Syria's LGBTI movement and is a refugee in Berlin. The dream to participate in an international beauty contest as an escape from their trapped lives and an answer to their invisibility is what brings these two men together. 

Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower is about teenager Joshua Wong who decides to save his city when the Chinese Communist Party backtracks on its promise of autonomy to Hong Kong. Rallying thousands of kids to skip school and occupy the streets, Joshua becomes an unlikely leader in Hong Kong and one of China's most notorious dissidents.

Truth Detectives, an interesting documentary about human rights activists, journalists and lawyers globally who collect evidence of human rights violations with the help of victims. Using mobile devices to film and photograph their experiences, they become digital witnesses. Amateur videos of bombs exploding, people being abused or even shot dead are distributed almost in real time via social media. Digital investigators use various forensic methods, from internet tracking to DNA analysis, to analyse and verify this deluge of images, supporting them with other evidence and scientific expertise. These criminological investigations have only one purpose: to bring to justice those who violate human rights.
                    [post_title] => Human-rights related “Movies That Matter” week marks tenth anniversary 
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => human-rights-related-movies-that-matter-week-marks-tenth-anniversary
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-20 19:47:24
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-20 18:47:24
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139811
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [9] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 139814
                    [post_author] => 338
                    [post_date] => 2018-12-21 14:47:34
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-21 13:47:34
                    [post_content] => Galeria Kalo, a new emerging private arts gallery in Tirana where one can appreciate great pieces of artwork by Albanian renowned artists, including works of ambitious young modern artists, and international artists too. The Gallery promotes visual art through exhibitions of artworks which are sponsored and supported by various entities, mainly from the Fondacioni Kalo (Kalo Foundation) and its partners. 

The gallery wants to give its contribution in educating the society, especially the youth, with the art values and improvement of fine arts legal framework, and the establishment of an art market in Albania. So far, it has made a great presence in the contemporary Albanian art scene with various exhibitions.

The gallery participated at the International Contemporary Art Fair in Thessaloniki, which took place at Thessaloniki from Nov. 22-25, 2018. In the Fair participated 26 galleries, Albania represented by Galeria Kalo with five contemporary and modern art pieces from Albanian artists. The pieces included two sculptures and three paintings which will be exhibited at the space of Galeria Kalo on Dec. 21, 2018 at 6 p.m., remaining open to the public until Jan. 31, 2019. 

[gallery ids="139815,139816,139817,139818,139819"]
                    [post_title] => Convergence at Kalo gallery
                    [post_excerpt] => 
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => closed
                    [ping_status] => closed
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => another-year-marked-the-annual-tradition-launched-by-the-embassy-of-netherlands-in-albania-for-holding-the-event-movies-that-matter-corresponding-to-human-rights-issues-this-year-was-the-tenth-anniv
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2018-12-22 19:09:12
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-22 18:09:12
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=139814
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

        )

    [post] => WP_Post Object
        (
            [ID] => 140028
            [post_author] => 338
            [post_date] => 2019-01-11 15:30:32
            [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-11 14:30:32
            [post_content] => Debates, confrontations and conflicts stirred the arts and culture sphere in Albania. Some issues are still left inconclusive, beginning with the National Theatre activities calendar, whether the National Library will move buildings, will the National Arts Gallery rehabilitate its strategy, will lahuta be claimed as an Albanian intangible cultural heritage, and what innovations will the new appointed Minister of Culture Elva Margariti bring to the table. 

2018 was a jarring year for the Albanian art and culture. The question artists are asking is whether will 2019 bring positive changes in this sphere, and all are hoping for the best. Below you have a listed recap of the most noted cultural issues throughout the year.

2018 as the year of Skanderbeg

skenderbeu

The year we left behind was an overall troubled one for arts and culture, where debates prevailed and issues are left unsolved or unanswered. However, some institutional circles organized a number of positive cultural activities in art and history world. One such activity were the exhibition with rare antiquaries on the figure of our national hero Skanderbeg at the Palace of Congresses. This was considered the most serious exhibition on the figure among the many throughout the year, which was announced as the Pan-national Year of Skanderbeg. 

The exhibition for our national hero at the Palace of Congresses displayed images, history books written in Milano since 1473, the Epistola gifted by Papa Pius II, Marin Barleti history of 1508-1510, and other materials from archives.

Debates with Ministry of Culture and continuous protests over National Theatre

Teatri-Kombetar-protesta

In the beginning of 2018, the artists gathered in objection of the 2010 law ‘’For art and culture,’’ changed in 2014. One contradicted point was the governmental centering of directorial appointments to institutions as National Cinematography Center, State Filmography Archives, and National Library. These directors are nominated by the Minister of Culture, then Mirela Kumbaro, then chosen by a direct decision from the Council of Ministers, but will still appointed by a direct order by the Culture Minister.

The Minister backed down from this bill, however the artists gathered again to battle against the government on its bill for demolishing the National Theatre. The government claimed that the building is too old and cannot be reconstructed, thus passed a bill in its demolition and construction of a new building by a certain predetermined construction company. Both the decision for demolition and the already given tender angered the artists for lack of transparency and undemocratic decision-making. They protested for a few weeks, yet prime minister Edi Rama said ‘’Whether you like it or not, the theatre will be demolished.’’

The proposed architectural project by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels wasn’t received well by artists, whereas artists, scholars and architects said that the theatre holds incontestable values for our history and cultural heritage. Thus, the protesters proposed a reconstruction of the building, even though the Institute of Construction reported that the National Theatre needed a 90 percent level of restoration. 

Protests began, some proposed their own projects, yet, former Minister of Culture Kumbo didn’t participate in any of the discussion panels organised by the Media Commision and artists. Tirana Mayor Erion Veliaj did participate in some panels and promised that the theatre’s territory wouldn’t be violated. This caused that some figures as Robert Ndrenika, Arben Derhemi, Altin Basha, etc., to withdraw from the protest in reliance to Veliaj’s promise. This withdrawing caused a division among artists, some of whom still oppose the law, even though it passed twice with 75 votes in the parliament.

A pending reform for the Academy of Sciences

The need for change also knocked  at the Academy of Sciences’ doors on 2018. The academics delivered a platform to the Ministry of Education on Mar. 31, which is still waiting upon governmental approval. Academics Artan Fuga and Skender Gjinushi are still looking for a way out from the condition the institution has fallen. Recently Gjinushi said that the bill will be signed very soon and will correspond to the elections in the Academy for a director, deputy director and secretary.

National Library flooded after burning

The National Library endured a fire due to an electrical spark on Mar. 15, 2017, but fortunately didn’t suffer any irreplaceable damages. On June 23, 2018, Tirana had heavy rain showers which managed to flood the Library’s building and soak thousands of books and texts. Even though images of employees drying the texts with blow dryers or in the sun emerged in media, fortunately again, none of these suffered extreme damages and none of them were irreplaceable. Nevertheless, the Institute of Construction filed a report that the building is unsuitable for a National Library.

tar2-1

Democratic Party requests art decommunisation

An initial proposal by Agron Tufa about the docommunization of art, was discussed again by DP officials in 2018. The bill seeks to add an explanatory note to films and other artistic works produced during the social-realism regime which served the system’s propaganda, indicating their purpose to the public. This bill hasn’t be read yet in the parliament, yet it sparked debates among artists, writers and publishers.

A million Albanians didn’t read a book in 2017

Another debate was sparked by a report from the Albanian Institute of Statistics, INSTAT, which claimed that one million Albanians during 2017, hadn’t read at least one book, which implies the distancing of the Albanian reader from books. This report gave way to the movement ‘’ReadABook,’’ undertaken by publishers and the Ministry of Culture. 

The 21st edition of the Book Fair which opened its doors on Nov. 14 marked other issues that books face, such as bad translations, lack of orientation for the readers, and a forgetfulness of Albanian literature, especially for children. A media attention however, received the new book by renowned writer Ismail Kadare, ‘’When rulers dispute’’, which caused long lines of readers waiting to receive an autograph.

no-reading

Lahuta claimed by Serbs

The acknowledging from UNESCO of the Serbian ‘’singing accompanied by the gusle’’ and the instrument gusle which is similar to the Albanian lahuta (lute), as an intangible cultural heritage, wasn’t received well by Albanians and its media. Media claimed that Serbs stole our lahuta, and various musicologists said that lahuta is of Albanian origin. 

Yet, other scholars said that the lute is a Balkans instrument neither Albanian nor Serbian. Scholar Shaban Sinani who was part of the team responsible for preparing the documentation of Eposi i Kreshnikeve (Albanian Songs of Frontier Warriors), said that Serbia’s success isn’t an obstacle for ours. According to Shabani, the issue remains that our documentation has been stuck in lobbying since 2012.

Beethoven sonatas brought in Tirana by Tedi Papavrami

Beethoven sonatas were returned in Tirana on Nov. 3, 2018, thanks to violinist Tedi Papavrami. Papavrami came in Tirana with his new wife, Japanese pianist Maki Okada. He gave a concert with French pianist Francois-Frederic Guy at the Cultural Center of the Orthodox Church, and will be returning in Tirana again with other concerts.

Marc Chagall in Tirana

180 black and white prints from renowned 20th century artist Marc Chagall were exhibited at the Center for Openness and Dialogue, which is located at the prime ministry building. This exhibition was the last of a series hosted by COD, considered the most important one for 2018, which also closed the cultural year in that center. The prints displayed are illustrations used for Gogol’s Dead Souls, Shakespeare’s The Tempest and La Fontaine’s Fables.

chagall

Albanian film ‘’The Delegation’’ wins international award

The Albanian film ‘’The Delegation,’’ directed by Bujar Alimani and with a script by Artan Minarolli, won the Warsaw Grand Prix at the 34th edition of the International Film Festival in Warsaw.

Rare nautical map in Albania

A 1455 map by Genoese hartograph Bartolomeo Pareto for Papa Nicholas V, was exhibited at the Center for Openness and Dialogue as part of the Pan-national Year of Skanderbeg. The exhibition was made possible by architect and medieval hartography scholar Artan Shkreli. The map shows evidence of the influence of Skanderbeg in the Balkans and the spread of Albanian regions during the 15th century.

sken-8

The National Arts Gallery only hosts two exhibitions

Erzen Shkololli was appointed as the new director of the Albanian National Arts Gallery. In the beginning his appointment was well received by the artistic circles, but then he started showing lack of rectitude towards media and allowing only few exhibitions to be hosted in the Gallery. For 2018 only two exhibitions were hosted in the NAG, ‘’The transformation painter’’ from Edi Hila and ‘’Here- or rather there, is over there’’ by Flaka Haliti. 

If that wasn’t enough, the NAG together with the Ministry of Culture decided to give an end to the International Exhibition ‘’Onufri,’’ which allows an exchange among local and international artists, and gives an insight to the public about what is happening in the contemporary art sphere.

Eurovision 2019 representative song announced

Renowned singer Jonida Maliqi returned to the stage of the Song Festival after an 11 year-long absence. After winning the Festival, she will be representing Albania at Eurovision 2019 with the song ‘’Ktheju tokes’’ (Return to Motherland), composed and written by Eriona Rushiti. This song talks of the Albanian immigrants and calls them out, and will be sang in Albanian during Eurovision.

A sad year that separated us from great artists

Albania will miss great artists that contributed greatly to our arts and culture. The flying dancer Rexhep Celiku, art critic Gezim Qendro, Gjovalin Paci, Fadil Hasa, Ilia Terpini, Luan Qerimi, and Sulejman Dibra departed from this world.

Mid’hat Frasheri returns home

Nationalist’s Mid’hat Frasheri’s remains returned from the United States of America where he passed away in 1949 to Albania, and was buried at the Tirana Lake Park near his family members. A commemoration ceremony was held at the Academy of Sciences before his burial. Frasheri was the creator of the National Front, a national anti-communist resistance, he was a contributor of the latinised Albanian alphabet, was a writer and publisher of the first newspapers and magazines that adopted this alphabet.

1541927676_midhatfrasheri (1)
            [post_title] => A recap of culture in Albania during 2018
            [post_excerpt] => 
            [post_status] => publish
            [comment_status] => closed
            [ping_status] => closed
            [post_password] => 
            [post_name] => a-recap-of-culture-in-albania-during-2018
            [to_ping] => 
            [pinged] => 
            [post_modified] => 2019-01-11 14:09:12
            [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-11 13:09:12
            [post_content_filtered] => 
            [post_parent] => 0
            [guid] => http://www.tiranatimes.com/?p=140028
            [menu_order] => 0
            [post_type] => post
            [post_mime_type] => 
            [comment_count] => 0
            [filter] => raw
        )

    [queried_object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [term_id] => 31
            [name] => Culture
            [slug] => culture
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 31
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 0
            [count] => 3009
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 31
            [category_count] => 3009
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Culture
            [category_nicename] => culture
            [category_parent] => 0
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 31
    [post__not_in] => Array
        (
        )

)

Latest News

Read More