The National Gallery of Arts in Tirana receives in its space the “Ambitions” exhibition from February 1st to April 1st, 2021, – the fruit of a project developed in collaboration with the National Gallery of Kosovo, an exhibition which differs for its entirely female authorship, followed by female curation as well. These are Albanian artists from Albania, Kosovo and the Diaspora, whose works are displayed in this exhibition under the care of the curators: Adela Demetja and Erëmirë Krasniqi. The exhibition starts its journey in Tirana and then it concludes in Prishtina.


The “Ambitions” exhibition is an example of how the personal, the independent – in perspective and reflection (practically) – can live in harmony with the entity, thus creating a more resonant, inviting voice at the same time. The feminine feature of this exhibition seems to try and deepen the prominence of the role of women in art (visual art, in this case) in the eyes of the visitors; despite the general impression that the woman has been largely reflected by others and rarely reflective herself, when, in fact, the inherent reasons for her under-representation may have been: the lack of attention to her and her work, as well as the lack of her universal freedom.

The artistic experience of each of the authors, as a part of the narrative mosaic, is at the same time a reflective part of certain political and social periods, a bearer of a certain mentality and experience of a nation: in the Albanian space mainly, after the Second World War until today, although the exhibition does not follow the course of time. The works in question indirectly reflect the extensive conditions in which they were conceived and then came to life, and also the circumstances which the works were subjected to or they overcame. It would be inaccurate if we saw the exhibition focused on the feminist point of view. A number of authors and works may have aimed at confronting the patriarchy, but in their entirety they encompass a variety of themes, which gives the exhibition a note of universality.

The “Ambitions” exhibition is based in four axes:

a) Body archives (this axis focuses on the examination of the body, which is seen by the respective artists as the host and the follower of messages, and is used as a tool / weapon to reflect one’s worldview / attitude towards the world, in its political and social sense). The authors who adhere to this axis are:

Silva Agostini (“(A) Current State”, video); Alma Bakiaj (“I stayed inside my head for too long”, aquarelle on paper; “Ariel”, video); HAVEIT (“Baby blues”, performance); Blerta Hoçia (“I have so many eyes, beautiful eyes”, photo on aluminum plate); Shpresa Faqi (“Women drawing women”, workshop); Fitore Isufi – Koja (“Japonia” (Japan), video); Shelbatra Jashari (“Hello Shelly”, performance); Silvi Naçi (“Hard”, ceramic beans); Edit Pula(j) (“The last meters”, print ink, lithography on wall paper); Anila Rubiku (“Stitched dreams; embroidery on linen); Alketa Xhafa Mripa (“Mum, Am I a Barbarian?”, color photography).

b) The grammar of memory (this axis is another form of visual narrative which adheres to personal and common memory, recognizing and enhancing itself through the confrontation with the past. Despite the experiences at different times and places, the entirety of this subdivision creates the panorama of common problems). Relevant authors:

Lumturi Blloshmi (“The volunteer”, oil on canvas); Liljana Çefa (“The brave men in the museum”, oil on canvas); Donika Çina (“The A-side”, installation); Blerta Hoçia (“I have so many eyes, beautiful eyes”, photo on aluminum plate); Majlinda Hoxha (“In Tandem”, photo); Ledia Kostandini (“Aftermoments”, textile mosaic); Edona Kryeziu (“Greetings from an Elsewhere”, video); Hyrije Krypa (“Ganimete Tërbeshi”, graphic); Iva Lulashi (“Outside Underwear”“Non ti preoccupare cara”“Senza badare alla verita”, oil on canvas); Greta Pllana (“Untitled”, oil on canvas); Eli Xoxa (“The demonstration of the women of Tirana”, alto relief, gypsum); Violeta Xhaferi (“The journey”, acrylic pour diptych); Androniqi Zengo Antoniu (“Autoportrait”, oil on canvas).

c) Voluntary anachronisms (this axis constitutes a subdivision within the exhibition, which marks a feminine opposition to multifaceted conditioning, mainly based on gender). Authors of this section:

Flaka Haliti (“My balls”, video); Blerta Hoçia (“I have many eyes, beautiful eyes”, photo on aluminum plate); Shelbatra Jashari (“Series in motion”, color photography); Matilda Odobashi (“Lines that lie”, wall paper; “Untitled”, rapid on paper); Nurhan Qehaja (“The flag”, video); Alketa Ramaj (“Adam’s apple”, video); Miradije Ramiqi (“Archetype act”“Illyrian archetypes”, oil on fabric); Alije Vokshi (“Composition 5”“Breaking the boundary”, oil on fabric; “Drawing cycle”, rapid on paper); Rudina Xhaferi (“Rudinism”, painting on artificial nails).

d) Poetic summary (an axis which does not aim at all to the aesthetic fulfillment of the viewer / taster, but to the examination of the interior from one work to another). The following authors:

Brigita Antoni (“Dead End”, adhesive and video”; “Sketch Book”, rapidograph on paper); Bora Baboçi (“Triptych”, gypsum panels with gouache interventions and brushed plaster); Lirije Buliqi (“Vase”“Dancing”“The vases”, ceramic); Blerta Hoçia (“I have many eyes, beautiful eyes”, photo on aluminum plate); Majlinda Hoxha (“Sliding”, photo); Diana Miziri (“Composition”, mixed weaving); Alketa Ramaj (“Impurity”, industrial textiles); Merita Selimi (“Fading”, mixed technique on paper); Marina Sula (intervention); Sofia Zengo Papadhimitri (“Autoportrait”, oil on canvas); Valbona Zherka (“Silence”, classic weaving and knitting by handloom).

Apart from the long period of time, as well as the high number of participants, the exhibition presents: historical moments (starting from antiquity and from one generation to another); the state or the consequences of political regimes (there is no lack of the sensitivity with which these creative women have experienced freedom or restrictions from these regimes), recent political and economic developments; various human, social and gender issues, as well as the goal of the inclusion of society in solving these issues.

While searching for the feminine physical and mental balance, the creativity of this exhibition, in addition to the variety of its technical language, it transmits the effort of exploring oneself while walking through time, in relationships with oneself and others. Fragile emotional states are embodied in the exhibition through performances that convey an opposition to unacceptable social phenomena, which naturally causes the viewer to question the veracity of social progress; questioning the character development without losing femininity. All of this constitutes an introduction within the human nature, using art as a self-recognizing, reflective, and interactive experience with the other (society), through combining the delicacy of technique with the harshness of the content. From time to time, the creations openly prove the connection between the generations, the need to remember and understand past times and events, where the reconnection with the roots rises significantly while the essence of the exhibition remains the human, national and gender identity.

Sometimes fragile and sometimes harsh, these works are an undeniable evidence of the existence of women in the history of humanity and female art in the history of art (in this case, Albanian visual art). This testimony of women (artists) who have created for other women (heroines) is even more beautiful.

This ensemble of works turns down the notion according to which the artistic heritage bears only the male stamp. The works in question are not separated from the emptiness of the content, not even when some of them are just purely aesthetic; and the common denominator of this exhibition is the sensitivity with which the respective works are created, whereas the opposition to the masculine gender comes as a call for coexistence and cooperation.

About the curators:

* Adela Demetja is a curator and author. She was born in 1984 in Tirana (Albania) and studied at the Academy of Arts in Tirana (2002-2006). She, holds a master in “Curatorial and Critical Studies” of Städelschule and Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main Germany. Adela Demetja started her career as an artist. She is the director of Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art, Albanians leading independent art institution, which she established in 2010. As an independent curator she has organized, managed and curated numerous international exhibitions and events in different European countries and the US. In 2016 she was appointed curator of Focus: Ex- Yugoslavia and Albania at viennacontemporary international art fair, Vienna Austria. In 2015 she co- curated the Third Edition of the International Contemporary Project Biennale D-0 Ark Underground taking place in the anti-atom shelter build by Tito in Konjic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Some other exhibitions curated by Adela Demetja are: “The aesthetic of the small act”, at Action Field Kodra Festival in Thessaloniki, Voices of Truth, in Villa Romana in Florence, Italy. As an Author she has been writing exhibitions reviews, catalogue text and articles for different online platforms and publications in Albania and Europe.

* Erëmirë Krasniqi is a researcher and curator based in Prishtina. She graduated from Bard College Berlin in aesthetics, philosophy and literature and earned a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature from Dartmouth College. In Dartmouth, she has also worked as an assistant in several courses (Transnational Islamic Feminism, Krieger’s Virtual Wife: Japanese Anime and the Idea of ​​Posthuman, Introduction to Film Study and Film noir), as well as a research assistant in the Media Ecology project. In 2017, Krasniqi completed the program “Exposure of contemporary history – Re-presentation of the XX century”, a one-year study on museology and curatorial practices at Friedrich Schiller University. Krasniqi is the executive director of the Kosovo Oral History Initiative, an independent organization based in Pristina.