A Reflection of the Progress of our Figurative Arts
This article first appeared in New Albania, No 6, 1976. The bi-annual Figurative Arts Competition and Exhibition seemed to have been postponed from 1975 and instead took place in 1976 to coincide with the 35th Anniversary of the Founding of the Party of Labour of Albania.
On this occasion the sculptor Muntaz Dhrami was invited to write the introduction.
The Exhibition of Figurative Arts dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the founding of the Party of Labour of Albania has been opened in the halls of the National Gallery of Arts in Tirana. This is one of the biggest displays of our national arts. Over 445 works by 378 artists represent the highest ideo-aesthetic and professional levels in our painting, sculpture, graphics and applied arts. This is a beautiful collection of colours, form and line, which embodies the great ideas of our people’s revolution.
In these works our art-lover finds the important historical theme, especially, glorious pages from our National Liberation War, from the heroism of our fighters and workers, the portraits of heroes and of ordinary people, those who are changing the face of Albania today.
In the Exhibition the self-sacrificing toil at the work-sites of the construction of socialism, the beautiful landscapes of our transformed homeland, the figures of partisans, of the metallurgists smelting the first Albanian steel, are strikingly reflected. The life and work in our socialist countryside is beautifully and poetically portrayed in the Exhibition.
The works on display in this exhibition have all been produced within the past two years. Among them we find many powerful compositions with great emotional force, a wide range of individual talents, an artistic language which is simple and understandable to the people, and works with an innovatory flavour. They are far removed from any hint of cosmopolitanism or dictate imposed by other countries.
In the best works one can see the broad contact which the artist has had with the vivid life of the working people. They are the fruit of the great inspiration which has gripped every artist who has gone among the people and really got to know their heroic life at first hand.
A good part of the works have been subjected to open discussion with the ordinary people. The studios of our artists are always open to the public, and broad creative discussions are often conducted in them. Our art has a thoroughly democratic spirit, which stems from its proletarian partisanship. A number of artists have set up their studios for years on end at building sites. Others compose their works cheek by jowl with workers and cooperative members, where they open their own exhibitions with motifs from the work of workers and cooperative members. Later these works are brought to the Central Exhibition. Regional Exhibitions of Figurative Arts have been opened in all districts, like those of Shkodra, Vlora, Korça, Lushnja, Saranda, Gjirokastra, Burrel, Durres and so on, at which the broad masses of workers give their opinions on the works which will be exhibited at the Central Jubilee Exhibition.
The art-loving masses who are concerned that our new art should flourish and progress, have become not only the inspiration of our artistic production but also the principal suppliers of new talents.
In addition to older artists, more and more young talents are militating in our ranks. Likewise more and more amateurs are working alongside our professional artists. Thus, in this Exhibition alone, over 130 young artists, among whom nearly 30 amateurs exhibited for the first time. Alongside the young artist who has graduated from the secondary school of art or from the Higher Institute of Arts, in this Exhibition we find works by the folk artist or the relief carved in stone by the 70-year old Highlander, Llesh Vorfi.
By following this course, our art has gained maturity and the warmth of our soil, the strength of youth which our socialist system imparts. Works of art, which have become close to the people and belong to the people, aid them in their day to day life.
Our art is forging ahead, full of vitality and originality; far removed from any formalist and modernist absurdity. It has become an integral part of the spiritual life of our working people, whose interest is continually mounting. Thus we artists are made more deeply aware of our responsibility as creators and our confidence to turn out better and more beautiful works, is increased.
The Exhibition of our Figurative Arts marks a new level in the upsurge and maturity of our arts, opening new opportunities for further progress.