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11. Albania


Country of bunkers and colors

Albania offered us the biggest surprize so far. I mean... what do you kow about Albania? Kalasnikofs, refugees, piramide games, stolen mercedes, sheep, bad roads, poverty. Is there anything positive you have ever heard about this country? Even us, as interested people in Balkans, we have hardly ever heard anything positive. The country was extremely closed for 50 years. The effects are in some cases remarkable but for the image it was extremely destructive. How Albania could ever get rid of it's image is a big question to me.
Albania has so much more then the elements of it's image. The long years of isolation made people live in a small community. This probably supported the pureness in language. Anywhere you can ask a question and you will receive an reaction as an answer. In Albania you notice some seconds of silence and finally an answer which gives very straight information and continuation to the conversation. Albanian are pretty precize. To make a radio program at a local station, the playlist has to be prepared days upfront, the text been written down and the translation checked.
Communism, as anywhere, made there was a great education system about arts, litrature, drama and so on.
Tirana, the colorfull capitol, is booming. We have met dozens of young people who have lived abroad but have returned. The city is full of youngsters with education, with world experience, with good will and good ideas. Many metione the fact they have returned because here everything is possible while western societies, where they have been living, are limited by an overload of rules and regulations.
Most young people speak very well english, unlike France or Italy and are very interested in new activities.
The old isolation probably made it too difficult for capitalism to concer this country easily. The change goes slow and since we are member of the society of friends of slow progress, we see the advantages of this slow change. It gives people time to think about changes, to react on it and to adjust on it in collective manner. In Kosovo, just on the other side of teh Yugoslav border, the changes went that fast that normal people have no more affinity with it. Albania does not have some much foreigners and probably that is a good thing. In Albania there are only about 50 Dutch people of which half work for religious organizations. These people try to convince the Albanian to become catholic or protestant. It is better to bring the word of a Dutch god without succes then to bring petrol and the monopoly in selling it.
Besides Albanian people are precize, positive and modest, they are also proud. It is impossible to pay the bill f a restaurant or to buy a beer as long as the host is able to do this him/herself. I guess this is why the religious organizations are still in Albania. It is really hard to convince only 2 million Albanian who have learned slowly and deeply, they are Balkan, they are intercultural, interreligious and pluriform, they are tolerant and selfminded.


Name : Tirana
Objectives : Create a future meeting

kilometer : 13285

Edi Rama, new major of Tirana painted the city colorfull

Name : Edi Rama
Objectives : get the major for the Mobile Global Exhibition

kilometers: 13291

Since Edi Rama profiled himself as painter we have invited him for the mobile global exhibition. In the days we were there he was counting the votes for the reelection so he had little time. We hope to get back to him

Name : Tirana
Objectives : the color city
kilometers: 13285

In this street we met all artists that were not invited by our official host. Specially Apartment 11 was used as meeting place.

Name : Tirana
Objectives : showing contrast
kilometer : 13296

Despite our very positive story, off course not all things are great. This is to show some contrast. Albania is full of contrast.

Name : Tirana
Objectives : being surprized
kilometer : 13295

All things we imagined were wrong. We tried to be as neatral as possible. Also this was wrong. The city is just good.

Name: Albania Hollywood
Objectives : on our way out of town
Kilometer : 13299

While we wee getting out of town with some young artists, drinking macedonian beer and smoking what ever availlable, we passed this building which used to be the only place in Albania where film could be made. All films were produced in this building.

Name : National Art Galery
Objectives : Mobile Global Exhibition

kilometer :13297

On the parkingplace in front of the entrance, in a beautifull sun, we have finally organized the Mobile Global Exhibition in which a dozen of Albanian painters participated. Pictures of this exhibition are shown on the mobile exhibition site.

Name : Mosque
Objectives : Ramadan celebration
kilometer : 13290

Although Albania is not a religious country at all, of course most religions are represented. This is a meeting just before Iftar at the mosque at the main square in Tirana