“Tirana Patience” is the latest exhibition opened at the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana since December 2019 and continuing to remain open until December 2020 and from time to time it is accompanied by explanatory activities by artists participating in the exhibition, as well as intellectuals of different fields.


The exhibition is curated by Nataša Ilić and Adam Szymczyk, and its architecture was conceptualized by Joanna Meyer-Grohbrügge.

Most of the works are part of the extensive collection of socialist realist art, produced in Albania during the dictatorship (1946-1990), a collection which has been housed in the National Gallery of Art since 1954.

“Tirana Patience” includes work by: Abdulla Cangonji, Abdurrahim Buza, Alush Shima, Andon Lakuriqi, Arben Basha, Aristotel Papa, Bajram Mata, Bardhyl Dule, Çlirim Ceka, Dashamir Myftari, Dhimitër Mborja, Edison Gjergo, Fatmir Haxhiu, Franc Ashiku, Fuat Dushku, Guri Madhi, Harrilla Dhimo, Hasan Çapari, Hasan Nallbani, Ismail Lulani, Isuf Sulovari, Jorgji Gjikopulli, Kristaq Rama, Llambi Blido, Lumturi Blloshmi, Mumtas Dhrami, Musa Qarri, Myrteza Fushekati, Nexhmedin Zajmi, Pandeli Lena, Pandi Mele, Petro Kokushta, Rafael Dembo, Sadik Kaceli, Sali Shijaku, Shaban Hysa, Skënder Lako, Skënder Kamberi, Skënder Milori, Sotir Capo, Spiro Kristo, Stavri Çati, Vasil Talo, Vilson Halimi, Vilson Kilica, Zef Shoshi.

Today, exhibitions can interact with the visitor beyond the traditional way. Theoretical guidance is a way of interacting, but the ban to see many of the paintings displayed is another feature used in the “Tirana Patience” exhibition.

The discountenance inherent in the tactic to stop the viewing of a certain number of works in a gallery, whose first and ultimate purpose is their viewing, constitutes in itself a kind of excitement, an awakening for the viewer.

The exhibition also features commissions, new works and performance interventions by artists, curators and researchers: Anri Sala, Anna Daučíková, Arnisa Zeqo, Artur Żmijewski, Chto Delat, David Maljković, Doruntina Kastrati, Erëmirë Krasniqi, Gentian Shkurti, Ibrahim Mahama, Iman Issa, Johanna Meyer-Grohbrügge, Kristina Koljaka, Larion Lozovoy, Noit Banai, Olsi Lelaj, Sezgin Boynik and  Thomas Logoreci; They present their artistic works or exchange knowledge, addressing specific works within the permanent collection by  presenting them  to the visitors in a narrative and interactive way which revolves around the shocking past from which the Albanian society has not yet recovered.

Anri Sala participates in this exhibition with the work (video) “The Interview” (1998), which intersects personal and social history, bringing back the overloaded political landscape of totalitarian Albania;

Larion Lozovoy, is presented through his video “The machine and the garden” (2018), he analyzes the films of socialist realism, underlining that even the most neutral landscape can hide power relations and convey ideological messages;

Iman Issa is presented with a soundtrack, entitled “The revolutionary” (2010), which tells the fictional story of a character created based on the term “revolutionary”;

Chto Delat brings to the exhibition a video project, “Builders” (2004-5), which is inspired by the painting “Builders of Bratsk” by Viktor Popkov, a work that today has become the symbol of focused and self-controlled people, on the verge of major changes;

David Maljković (“Untitled”, 2019) covers sculptures of the socialist realism period with colored plexiglass, making the sculptures more and less visible at the same time, thus reflecting the tension at the core of any approach towards “heritage”;

Gentian Shkurti comes with the works named “Frames”; landscape pieces predestined to change in the near future; the framing, in this case, is beyond the painter’s power over the canvas, i.e. the frames are bound to be pushed according to the expected changes;

Anna Daučiková presents a video (“33 situations”, 2015), which reflects the past of people’s private life in the Soviet Union. She elaborates on her life experiences in the late Soviet state, questioning truth and fiction, misrepresentation and re-formulation of historical memory;

Doruntina Kastrati, with the installation titled “Public Heroes and Secrets” (2019), which is driven by the conditions of workers in Kosovo and the region, it reflects the severe manipulation of today’s “hero” used ruthless compared to the ideological manipulation of that time, due to which misleading totalitarian happiness was produced;

Artur Żmijewski participates with a film (“Zeppelintribüne”, 2002) on historical memory and depersonalization. Despite the perverse memory, many tourists appear on it, standing on Hitler’s former balcony, raising their hands, saluting the Nazis;

Kristina Koljaka comes with a bronze sculpture (1951), part of the GKA fund and presents a two-figure composition on a pedestal.

Ibrahim Mahama, also a participant in the exhibition, covers the front of the National Gallery of Art with an installation (“Palace of dreams” /, 2012-2019) with quite large dimensions, using as raw material bags of jute, which serve to transport cocoa, coffee and coal. Inspired by Ismail Kadare’s work “Palace of Dreams”, the installation aims to present the contradictions / paradoxes inherent in history and the forms of work used today.

The exhibition “Tirana Patience“, through this union of times (works), aims to act as a reminder for viewers, but also as a promoter / stimulus of open debates which have as their essence the examination of individual-society interaction in completely different political and social systems.