May 2 > June 1, 2018
Private Viewing , May 7, 5-8pm
Agora, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France in partnership with Gallery 70
Avenue de l’Europe
Photo: Jon Kraja , “this is the end” invitation and catalogue
OPENING REMARKS at the Private Viewing
Thank you for coming to the private viewing of the Exhibition “This is the End” by Jon Kraja .
When I first saw some of the works by Joni, I was struck by the bold use of colours – the blues, the greens, the reds, blacks, yellows and more – I call them the shades of Joni . And lack of conformism. He paints by his rules. Gives colour to his feelings and his perception of reality. And yet, when standing in front of his work, you feel you have total freedom to interpret it your way, on your own rules, your perception of the world and the reality reflected in his art.
I am no art critic but his works made a deep impression on me. Once you see his paintings you don’t forget them – the visual power is very strong. You, at least I, could not be just a passive indifferent viewer – his works get you thinking, dreaming, fantasising. And I wanted to share this with colleagues and friends both in the Council of Europe and outside – so thank you for voting for this exhibition and allowing it to come to Agora.
Throughout 2018, we will celebrate our diverse cultural heritage across Europe and I hope that this exhibition, also contributes in a modest way towards encouraging more people to discover and engage with Europe’s cultural heritage, including Albania’s cultural heritage, and the way it shapes our identities and everyday lives. Joni identifies with modern abstract expressionism; a form of art that was forbidden during Albania’s communist years, I think makes it even more interesting for the modern art scene both inside and outside Albania.
I would like to thank Amicale, in particular Katarina Mandarik who has been coordinating the exhibition on behalf of Amicale; my colleagues Evrydiki and Adrienne for helping with all the logistics and sitting in meetings when I was on missions. The Albanian Permanent Representation and Ambassador Albana Dautllari for their support. Thank you Lauresha Basha and Gallery 70 Contemporary Art for introducing me to Joni’s work and so efficiently dealing with all the licences, customs, transport and the rest of a long list of arrangements to bring the exhibition here. And of course, my last words of thanks go to the artist – Jon Kraja – thank you for creating. And thank you for sharing your art with us.
Jon Kraja is born in 1970 in Tirana, Albania where graduated from the Arts Academy. He has developed an original style mostly based on autodidact research. His works are featured in collective and personal exhibitions, both in Albania and abroad: Switzerland, Germany, USA, France and Netherlands .To discover more about the artist http://jonikraja.com
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