Hello all! Cool Albanian Things would like to apologize for the hiatus, but not to worry! New content will be up soon so stay tuned!
Portret Rrobaqepseje, Simon Rrota, 1929.
Currently displayed at the National Gallery of Arts, Tirana
Pran of Albania. A children’s book written by Elizabeth Miller and illustrated by Maud and Miska Petersham in 1929, was a Newbery Honour recipient in 1930. The book is about a 14 year-old girl named Pran who lives in the Northern mountains of Albania in the village of Theth. The story touches on fighting with the Slavs from the north, blood feuds, and deals with Pran’s eventual decision to become a sworn virgin or “burreneshe” (an occurrence unique to Albanians). Elizabeth Miller worked in Albania with the Red Cross soon after the end of WWI, and wrote another children’s book pertaining to Albania titled Children of the Mountain Eagle. Pran of Albania is arguably very rare book to find considering its age, however you can find some copies here:
Supermarket Magazine Issue #2/2012. This month’s Swedish artist-run magazine featured some new developments in Albanian contemporary art. In it they interview Rubin Beqo, one of the founders of the Tirana Ekspres gallery, as well as feature Alketa Kurrizo the Project Manager at Zeta Galeri. In the article “Roadtripping the Balkans” by Pontus Raud, Beqo discusses the need for the Albanians to build a stronger and more dynamic art scene. Having helped found Tirana Ekspres in 2011, Beqo also speaks of the need to “establish some cultural standards…and to ensure continuity” (28) Zeta Galeri on the other hand (also based in Tirana), took part in “Supermarket 2012 Stockholm Independent Art Fair” featuring some art works by Leonard Qylafi, Silva Agostini, and Kosta Koci. To see more on their exhibit and Supermarket follow the link! http://supermarketartfair.com/content/zeta-galeri
A sample of Kosta Koci’s work from his collection of portraits People and Time
Blerta Zabergja. A young photographer from Kosova, Zabergja has entered one of her photographs in the National Geographic’s “Your Shot” competition. The photo is titled “Alice in Real World” and is a self portrait of the photographer. You can see it on the National Geographic’s website:
And if you like her photographs you can follow her on Facebook:
Anisa Hasani a.k.a Ani Shine. Currently living in the in USA but from Tirana, Ani Shine is making strides in the American entertainment industry. Recently signing a deal with Interscope Records, Ani Shine has begun her career in house music. Ani Shine also models occasionally. Her breakout single “Something Different” can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2DJkVmzkMM.
Her website is currently under construction, but stay tuned! http://www.anishine.com/
Albert Einstein. During World War II, Albania became a safe haven for Jews escaping the persecution of the Nazis. Albania had a larger Jewish population after WWII than before it, rescuing around 3000 Jews from all over Europe. Many of these Jews lived with Albanian families as “family members” and where given Albanian names, in order to evade the Nazi (and Italian) authorities. In 1935 Albert Einstein himself spent a few days in Durres and with the Albanian passport that he was issued, continued his journey to the USA. Einstein had had his passport confiscated by the Nazis but with the help of his friend Dr. Jani Basho, he got into Albania, met King Zog, and was issued an Albanian passport so that he could safely continue his journey.
Carku Guesthouse. Located in the secluded region of Theth (Northern Albania) this rustic, family-run guest house provides visitors with an authentic Albanian experience. The first family run guest house of its kind, it opened its doors to tourists in the mid 1990s. The guest house provides simple sleeping arrangements and the family provides guests with completely home grown and home made traditional Albanian food. The Carku family also maintains their own farm as well as gives short tours of the area for visitors. One of its many charms though is its simple country living lifestyle, which is based largely on a sense of community, the Carku Guesthouse’s website states: “During your stay here Nona Age will recount interesting stories of her children, now grown men and women, to enable you to gain a better understanding of the role of our family in the local community”. For more photos, or information on bookings and rates, visit their website: http://www.guesthouse-thethi-carku.com/
The Return. At this year’s Sundance Film Festival (held in Park City, Utah) the Albanian film The Return (Kthimi) directed by Blerta Zeqiri and written by Shefqet Gjocaj won the Jury Prize in Short Film, International Fiction. Of 9,000 film submissions to the festival from all over the world, only 200 get the opportunity to be screened. The Return, a twenty-one minute film, is about an Albanian man from Kosova who returns from a Serbian prison even though it was believed that he was dead. The man returns to his wife and son, but adjusting to a normal life is not easy for him. Provided is a link to the trailer (with English subtitles) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SDNhcE_2sTs