• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Feature: Albanian artists return home, ending exile for exhibition

News Stories, 3 June 2004

© UNHCR/B.Fusha
Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano (centre, with blue tie) with the returning artists at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana.

TIRANA, Albania, June 3 (UNHCR) Home is where the art is, as a group of Albanian artists can attest when they returned to their homeland for an art exhibition after years spent developing their craft abroad.

"Colours of Albania in the World" is currently showing at the National Gallery of Arts in the Albanian capital, Tirana. It brings home 23 artists who had either fled or migrated during a previous regime.

Opening the exhibition last Thursday, Albanian Prime Minister Fatos Nano said, "These artists have introduced to their host societies certain values of Albanian culture, such as passion, friendship and nobility."

UNHCR Representative Marion Hoffmann added, "They are putting their mark on the artistic scene of their host societies and now have an opportunity to show their work in their own country. They remind us that 20 million refugees and displaced persons around the world would also rather return home, if they could."

The exhibition, which runs until June 22, is based on this year's World Refugee Day theme, "A Place to Call Home".

Xhovalin Delia, an Albanian artist living in Florence, Italy, said, "This is a unique event which gathers for the first time in their home country distinguished Albanian artists who are working and living abroad. It is similar to the call of your own father to return to your home country."

The other artists are Adrian Paci, Flutura Preka, Besnik Haxhillari, Helidon Gjergji, Ibrahim Kodra, Omer Kaleshi, Ornela Vorpsi, Venera Kastrati, Anila Rubiku, Armando Lulaj, Bashkim Ahmeti, Bujar Marikaj, Arjan Risvani, Ilir Zefi, Bujar Luca, Astrit Vatnika, Artan Shabani, Agim Sula, Elton Milaqi, Pëllumb Puci, Valbona Musliu and Viktor Ferraj.

© UNHCR/B.Fusha
A painting by Bashkim Ahmeti.

"While Albania was barely a white spot on the world map, her artists had to either perform according to the rules of dictatorship, or work in hiding, or flee. This is a thing of the past," said UNHCR's Hoffmann. "In this exhibition we discover colours which, until 14 years ago, would have been drably oppressed within the country's own hermetically closed borders."

She added, "We are allowed to catch a glimpse of the Red and Black of Albanian passion and mystery. We are invited to Albanian hospitality, generosity and innate joy of life. The pieces excite us with the ancient Balkanic roots of honey and blood converging with the intense blue of the Mediterranean Sea."

"Colours of Albania in the World" was organised by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and jointly funded by local and international donors. In conjunction with the exhibition, study visits will be held involving refugees, migrants and students of the Academy of Fine Arts.




UNHCR country pages

WRD 2009 Poster Gallery

WRD 2009 Poster Gallery

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie joined UNHCR chief António Guterres on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where they met with boat people who have fled unrest in North Africa.

More than 40,000 people, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have crossed the Mediterranean on overcrowded boats and descended on the small island since the beginning of the year.

The UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador flew to Lampedusa from Malta, which has also been a destination for people fleeing North Africa by boat.

Angelina Jolie meets boat people in Malta, Lampedusa

World Refugee Day 2010 poster gallery

UNHCR has created three posters available to view and download to support this year's World Refugee Day. Millions of refugees around the world are unable to go home. These posters celebrate the strength and resolve that forcibly displaced people have to overcome adversity and make the best of their future lives.

World Refugee Day 2010 poster gallery

Canada: Hany's StoryPlay video

Canada: Hany's Story

Resettled 10 months ago from Lebanon to Regina, Canada, Hany is brushing up his English to prepare for University in the fall. He has also had his first photo exhibition.​
Angelina Jolie WRD 2011 messagePlay video

Angelina Jolie WRD 2011 message

UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie asks you to do one thing to help refugees.
World Refugee Day 2010Play video

World Refugee Day 2010

WRD Message: UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie says don't forget refugees