Tirana to host second watercolor biennale
- “The watercolor biennale represents a missing part of the visual arts landscape in Albania. Everybody starts with watercolors but the roots are damaged as artists grow,” says Helidon Haliti
TIRANA, March 2 – Tirana is poised to turn into a global stage for watercolor artists again welcoming about 400 artists from 65 countries around the world after its late 2015 inaugural edition.
Helidon Haliti, a 47-year veteran painter who late last year got an award at the Hong Kong Watercolor Biennale, says this year’s event scheduled for March 12 to 17 will bring exhibitions, live performances and workshops that also promote Albania as an emerging Mediterranean destination.
“Since the 2015 biennale, there has been tangible progress of watercolor in Albania. This is because painting students were inspired by great global artists they met and want to follow their techniques. Even Albanian painters who don’t exclusively work on watercolor, have come back and will be introducing themselves at the biennale. This was the reason we needed to have a watercolor biennale in Tirana,” says Haliti, the event organizer, who has represented Albania at several watercolor festivals.
The artist describes the event as a summary of an almost forgotten genre in Albania.
“The watercolor biennale represents a missing part of the visual arts landscape in Albania. Everybody starts with watercolors but the roots are damaged as artists grow,” he says.
This year’s exhibition will separately showcase great watercolor masters, young artists and amateurs including from Canada, South Korea, China and Russia.
Live demonstrations involve painting ten renowned Albanian personalities and ten castles in front of the pyramid building, a former mausoleum of Stalinist ex-dictator Enver Hoxha, built in 1988 to commemorate Hoxha’s 80th birthday, three years after his death.
International artists such as India’s Amit Kapoor, Turkish-Canadian Atanur Dogan, Australia’s David Taylor but also Albanian and Kosovo artists will compete for five awards, including best portrait, best landscape and composition.
“The festival’s goal is multifunctional, it started as love for watercolor paintings, the technique of childhood, as a desire to revive this technique which has been silent in the past 25 years in Albania and is turning into a wonderful advertisement to promote Albania, its beauty, art, culture, tradition and above all its famous landscapes and hospitality,” says Haliti.
Haliti, who belongs to the new generation of contemporary Albanian students who graduated during the early 1990s from the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana soon after the collapse of the communist regime describes conceiving an artwork as an event to him.
“I live 24 hours a day as an artist and I think the concerns and instinct guide me, I’m not a totally cold conceptual artist. I fight with myself and the canvas,” says Haliti.