Students showcase radicalization, communist past works

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 7, 2017 11:24

Students showcase radicalization, communist past works

Ermal Hoti's “Burden” picture wins "Religious Radicalism" topic. Photo: OSCE Presence

Ermal Hoti’s “Burden” picture wins “Religious Radicalism” topic. Photo: OSCE Presence

TIRANA, June 5 – Ermal Hoti and Suela Qemali have been announced the winners of a youth art contest and exhibition on dealing with the past and preventing violent extremism.

The contest organized by the OSCE Presence in Albania and the Italian embassy brought together art students in a project aimed at encouraging youth to reflect through artistic means on two currently debated topics in the country, the first one being preventing and tackling violent extremism and radicalization by stimulating dialogue around these phenomena. The second “Dealing with the past” topic contributes to raising awareness on the debate about Albania’s former repressive regime and its human rights violations, organizers say.

“On ‘Religious Radicalism,’ the panel awarded the photo ‘Burden’ by Ermal Hoti: the heavy stone burdening the levitating women, her sadly lowered eyebrows, the idea of stoning women – and much more is very impressive. On ‘Dealing with the Past’ the panel chose a very Albanian painting, which reveals many collective memories and associations: ‘Remembrance’ by Suela Qemali,” said the OSCE.

Dozens of Albanian fighters joined ISIS until 2014, sparking security concerns, but there have been no new reported cases of Albanians travelling to Syria or Iraq as of 2015.

Meanwhile, earlier this year an initiative to ban communist-era movies from screening on TV because of their propaganda serving the country’s former hardline Stalinist regime sparked a public debate in Albania on whether such a step should be undertaken 25 years after the collapse of the regime and whether the ban will have the adverse effect of increasing interest on these movies which can be easily accessed via the internet.

Albania has changed drastically since the death of the country’s communist dictator, Enver Hoxha, 31 years ago. But Hoxha, the leader of a brutal communist regime that murdered thousands of innocent Albanians, crushed all opposition and left the country in dire poverty in the late 1980s, is now seen in a positive light by a surprising large number of Albanians, a late 2016 survey supported by the OSCE Presence in Albania found.

According to a survey report on the ‘Understanding and perception of citizens of the communist past in Albania,’ almost half of Albania’s population sees Enver Hoxha’s role in the history of the country as positive.

Ambassador Bernd Borchardt, the head of the OSCE Presence in Albania said art can contribute to relaxing dialogue on the past and provide key information on transition societies.

The works were created by 20-year-old art students who belong to a generation that did not grow up under communism and know about the past regime mainly through second hand evidence.

The exhibition at the FAB gallery of the University of Arts in Tirana will remain open until June 12.

 

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times June 7, 2017 11:24