Blerta is an Albanian photographer and visual artist. Her personal projects follow a conceptual approach, hinged around themes of archive, fiction/ multiple truths, and architecture embedded in space, expressing their underlying social, narrative contexts. Her 14 year professional experience includes documentary works exploring architecture and political subjects (as photographer for Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama) alongside advertising, corporate and fashion projects. In 2019 she studied filmmaking at the London Film School (UK).
Man of a castle is a series of photographs portraying buildings, residential or business, built as castles. They are a manifestation of manhood, usually build by Albanians who have worked abroad and return to have their own castle. This patriarchal manifestation of masculinity is in contrast with the digital alteration of the images into infrared light, also known as the invisible light, which makes everything look pink.
Heavy stone in its place - Video 3:48
Somewhere in Albania, there is a house, rumoured to have been destroyed with explosives in 1996, after a private feud. In 1997 Albania was devastated by a civil war that left the country in a poorer state than communism had done for 50 years. Many were desperate to leave the country, and they did so, via boats, at the back of a truck and through other illegal means. In 1999, the War in Kosovo happened. Albanians from Kosovo were considered war refugees and were entitled to asylum anywhere in Europe. Albanians from Albania were not eligible. The latter then found a different path to asylum, they pretended they were Albanians from Kosovo, who had fled war. The house, this house, was used by many as proof for their asylum case in the UK. They would photograph the house, or themselves in front of the house, and declare “this is my house, in Kosovo, destroyed by bombs”. They took a new identity, a new name and origin. The house stood still, unchanged, to this day. *In Albanian the old expression “Heavy stone, in its place” (Gur i rëndë, në vend të vet) means that someone will never adapt elsewhere other than the place they were born, or that something belongs only in its place. **The voiceover is Jonel Bobaj, reading the true story of A. who came to the UK illegally, changed his identity for the asylum papers and got permanent leave to stay.