Forty artists featured in Onufri’s ‘Stranger than Kindness’

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 23, 2016 11:44

Forty artists featured in Onufri’s ‘Stranger than Kindness’

TIRANA, Dec. 22 - More than forty Albanian and international artists are participating in this year's traditional Onufri exhibition, Albania's most important traditional visual art event in the past two decades, which this edition has been dedicated to Mitrush Kuteli, one of Albania's best 20th century writers.

“Stranger than Kindness – Mitrush Kuteli” inspired by a rock musical hit is curated by Fani Zguro, a Berlin-based Albanian artist, and will also feature two special projects “Cinema” and “Taxi,” the latter originating from Anri Sala’s “No Formula One No Cry –Taxi.”

Fani Zguro, the curator of this year's edition, was selected for his curatorial concept focusing on contemporary art.

"Stranger than kindness" has selected a hot topic and serves the Albanian art stage as it sets the existence of contemporary art at the focus of attention, treating the duality between existence and fiction,” the jury said when it selected the curatorial concept.

“The concept goes beyond the superficial by penetrating into the gist of contemporary art thought and putting it at the focus of discussions, reflections, enabling the transmission of universal messages that contemporary art has in its DNA. The curatorial concept is all-inclusive both philosophically and existentially for the contemporary art and the artist himself, something embodied in his creations through the abandonment of embarrassment and leaving prejudice behind,” it added.

This year’s financial support to Onufri has been even smaller.

Ardian Isufi, the dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Tirana, says the annual event is suffering a huge cut in funds with this year's support by the culture ministry at only 1 million lek (€7,365).

"Onufri's budget has been declining in the past few years as the culture ministry is unclear in its strategy for this very important event for visual arts,” he says.

Some of the participant artists, mainly Italy-based Albanian artists said they had to handle the transport expenses on their own.

The visual arts competition is named after Onufri, a mid-16th century archpriest who was the most important painter of icons and murals of the early post-Byzantine era in Albania. His works influenced by the northern Greek painting of the Paleologus age, the Cretan School and western Gothic art can be seen in many churches in central Albania in Greece and in particular at the Onufri museum in Berat which was opened in 1986. Characteristic of Onufri’s works are strong colors, especially reds. Onufri’s two sons, Joan and Nikolla, were also icon painters of note.

The exhibition featuring Italian, Swedish, Mexican, Japanese and regional artists, expected to announce its winner in early 2017, will be open until February 1.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times December 23, 2016 11:44