Focus On Art With Adela Demetja Focus On Art With Adela Demetja
Nada Prlja, A Worker Who Cannot Speak English Is Not a Worker, 2008, courtesy of Mladen Stilnovic and SIA (Serious Interest Agency)

Albania’s Art Scene: Limited Capabilities and How to Deal with Them

November 15, 2016
Text by Tamara Dinka
Focus On Art With Adela Demetja
Nada Prlja, A Worker Who Cannot Speak English Is Not a Worker, 2008, courtesy of Mladen Stilnovic and SIA (Serious Interest Agency)

Adela Demetja is an independent curator from Albania and Art Director of Tirana Art Lab. I met her this year on viennacontemporary Art Fair, where she was responsible for curating Focus, a part of exhibitor space dedicated to the former republics of Yugoslavia and Albania. Regarding her international experience, I have concluded that she is trying to bring out the best of the places without developed art market, but with potential sources of various styles and influences, and accordingly to historical, political and social changes.

Is there a way, that we, as small and third world countries, exit from the grounded clichés, such as post-communism, poverty, emerging artists, etc. and do something bigger and solid?

This is a very good question, because the problematic is going on for many years. But, now many changes have happened and the conditions are not the same as 20 - 25 years ago. So, I personally believe that we have had to question any kind of explanation that others have on us - that outside view. Because, in the beginning of the 90ies, especially for those countries like Albania, who were completely isolated, this look from the outside was so much needed, because we didn’t have the opportunity to connect and to be the part of something bigger. And when you accept the things in total, how they are, just because you needed something, you get it all – good and bad all together, because you didn’t have that possibility and strength to think and to reflect in a moment. The second aspect is to redefine ourselves, from inside to the outside and not the other way around, and that is the harder part. Also, it has been always very difficult when you are coming from the smaller places, or from the periphery, or when you’re coming from the “third world countries”. But, as I know, there is only one world and we all live in it, and If there’s the second, the third world countries, it must be a fictional construction and there is an on-going philosophical discussion about this.

How do you find the sponsors and who is buying art in Albania?

There is no art market in Albania, and If it’s there, it’s sporadic, invisible and more individual. People are buying more traditional art, painting, but not the contemporary art. And, that is, in a way, good and bad, because artists are not influenced by the market, and they are producing completely free. But, on the other side, there is no income and artists cannot live from their art. We don’t have private sponsorship yet, but we are applying for different funds and until finally we are being supported by State funding (although very low) even from the Ministry and mainly by international funds and sponsorship.

What are your plans for the future?

With Tirana Art Lab the work always continues, we keep on with existing exhibition program and we keep on enriching the library of contemporary art – books. As independent curator, I don’t have anything starting right after, which doesn’t mean I don’t do anything. I use those gaps between project for my reading, writing and enjoying my personal life from where I often get the inspiration for the work.

Next article

Pierre Bastien
Photo by Amar Priganica and Marie-Claire Gagnon

Instant Composing with Pierre Bastien


PW-Magazine is a bilingual online magazine for contemporary culture run by Luca Büchler and Lewon Heublein. 

PW-Magazine is supported by the Federal Chancellery of Austria and Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.