'Expressing in colors' for a good cause

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 20, 2015 12:09

'Expressing in colors' for a good cause

Rita Hoffmann

Rita Hoffmann

Interview with Rita Hoffmann, a member of a group of expats who recently held an exhibition as part of their continuing charity efforts

A group of expats and members of the diplomatic community in Tirana recently opened an exhibition at the President's Office, working together with the country's first lady, Odeta Nishani. The group, already engaged in several charity projects, aimed to help people in need through the sale of the paintings and other works of art.

The exhibition, "Expressing in Colors," had works from Ahouva Cohen, Rita Hoffmann, Betsy Ferries, Grace Darlington, Luisa Carver, Merilee Esplin, Nicole Graf and modeling with recycled materials by Isabel Tausch, according to the president's press office.

Albanian First Lady Odeta Nishani expressed "Gratitude for their modest contribution, because the profits from the sales of a part of their works have gone to assist and aid people in need.”

After the exhibition, Tirana Times caught up with one of the people who had work featured in the exhibition Rita Hoffmann, to talk to her about the exhibition and her impressions of Albania. Mrs. Hoffman is in Albania accompanying her husband, who serves as Germany's ambassador to Tirana.

Can you tell us a little bit about how this exhibition came together and why?

In a friendly conversation with the First Lady we talked about my passion for painting. When the First Lady saw some of my works she spontaneously suggested to present them at an event at the President’s Palace, which was most nice of her. I then told her about the group of friends with whom I paint once every week and that we are seven ladies -- after Ahouva has left Albania with her husband, the Israeli Ambassador, recently, we are now six -- with a great love for painting. I also told her that we all work in different techniques -- oil, acrylics, pastels, watercolors -- but that we all enjoy to be and to work together and to discuss about art, and that our teacher Luisa is having every once in a while an exhibition where paintings are sold, with the proceeds being donated to a charity. Other members of the group are also engaged in voluntary charity work. In the course of this conversation the idea was born to stage an exhibition of paintings of all members of the group and I am most grateful for this wonderful opportunity given to all of us by the First Lady.

IMG_6553 (1)What did the exhibition feature?

The exhibition presented 50 paintings of 7 painters, which were divided into 4 categories, namely pleine air, still life, figures and abstract, presenting all the techniques I mentioned earlier. More generally speaking I think the exhibition featured a great passion and love for art and the results of ongoing processes of learning how to express what you feel, what you want to show, and how you see things. A nice addition feature to the exhibition were fashions made of unconventional materials and discarded objects presented by most charming models.

What was your role in the exhibition?

As a member of the painting group I helped to organize the exhibition together with people of the office at the Institution of the President, who, I have to say, did a great job!

How long have you been painting and what is your preferred style?

Perhaps you will find this surprising -- and to tell you the truth I am myself still surprised about this -- but I started painting only less than 5 years ago, when we were on post in Geneva! At first, it was meant only as a past time hobby, to do something nice with a very dear friend in a real atelier with fellow artists and a maestro, but then I became really fascinated by painting. My favourite painters are the expressionists, I also like modern art, abstract paintings. It is hard to say, because there are so many styles I like. The way I paint and in a sense my style depends often on the mood I am in or on the exhibitions I have visited.

P1020180 (1)What paintings were you featuring in the exhibition?

There were some which are more in an expressionist style while others are abstract; the themes vary from still life to the head of a cow to park in Tirana to blue&red.

You have now been in Albania for close to two years, how do you find the country and its people so far?

I like Albania as a country very much, and what I like in particular are the very friendly people here. Everybody is so nice and helpful which makes it so easy for foreigners to feel welcome. I am also very impressed to see that Albanians have so much love and passion for art -- not only visual art, but especially also music -- and that there is so much talent here!

As diplomats we have lived in quite a number of rather different places in the world -- Vienna, Windhoek/Namibia, London, Geneva, New York, Berlin -- and wherever possible my husband and I loved to go to the opera, to concerts, theaters, exhibitions, and so forth, so we were delighted so find out how much Albania has to offer in the cultural field!

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I very much wish the Albanians, especially the young people, that they can fully develop their talent and that they can receive the education and training necessary to achieve that. If people work hard enough I am confident many have the potential to be successful also outside their own country, as quite a number of outstanding examples demonstrate.



Tirana Times
By Tirana Times March 20, 2015 12:09