"Paths" in the endless art of Valbona Zherka

The exhibition "Journeys", by the artist Valbona Zherka, is a retrospective of her creativity, distinguished by tapestries and paintings. With fourteen works, the emphasis is also placed on the work process during the realization of the works. Her art appears as a free journey, which draws fragments from the artist's life, which build her artistic narrative. The activity comes out as a weaving of the Albanian identity, especially in the chapter that focuses on the Albanian woman. This interweaving is also found in the selection, which the artist has made to build her artistic opus on the textile medium, based on the fact that weaving is an ancient practice of the artisanal activity of Albanian women.

At the opening of the exhibition, on Wednesday night, the audience was able to walk through the works as rarely with the presence of the artist herself, in the Gallery of the Ministry of Culture. Together with the curator of the exhibition, Vesa Sahatçiu, the exhibition is built from several different cycles, as decided by the author herself. The first cycle is "Shpresa" from the 70s, which includes "Towers" and "Towers of Endurance", to continue with "Ato", from 1980 onwards. The third cycle called "Journey", started in 1999, continues until the artist's newest works.

But, in addition to the tapestries, the paintings also take place in the exhibition, which are in harmony with the other works.

The extensive creativity of Zherka has been a separate challenge for the curator of the exhibition during the selection of the works.

"The work process was a bit longer because Zherka has a wide opus with many works, therefore the selective process was more difficult. My focus has been on her cycle called 'Journey', then on other cycles. The choice of tapestries was also challenging, since the tapestries are exceptional. The collaboration has been wonderful. It is an honor and a privilege to collaborate with him, to treat and treat his works and works".

Zherka's process-oriented focus is primarily about the physical act of weaving the tapestry, highlighting the great effort involved in creating each piece from start to finish.

"The way she handles this medium is an unusual treatment of tapestry, such as working from sketches. Valbona herself is involved in the process, in her work even she herself does not know what has happened, in a way her work is meditative. She herself sometimes calls it archaeological, in search of something, which sometimes she finds and sometimes she doesn't", said Sahatçiu.

For the Gallery of the Ministry of Culture, this exhibition is considered very important and a good opportunity for all art lovers to see Valbona Zherka's work up close. Valbona Zherka, born in 1955 in Pristina, graduated from the Faculty of Arts at the University of Pristina in 1977 and was the only woman of the first generation who continued her studies at this institution of higher education in Kosovo. She continued her post-graduate studies at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, where she graduated in 1980. From 1978 to 1989, her works were exhibited nationally and regionally, including in Pristina, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Maribor, Belgrade and Ljubljana. .

"For me, it is very important that the artist Valbona Zherka has agreed to be part of our program, it is very important for the new generation and us as a gallery without figures like Valbona, who have worked in silence more than they have been exposed . It is important for all art lovers, researchers, to see Valbona and once in a wider context of the exhibition", declared Dhurata Ramosaj, coordinator of the Gallery of the Ministry of Culture.

The artist Vlora Hajdini, who bases her artistic activity mainly on the figure of the woman, sees the role of Valbona Zherka in the visual art scene as breaking barriers.

"It is a pleasure for all of Kosovo that Valbona Zherka is representing her work, she is a pioneer of tapestry, we also call her a souvenir of our civilization and culture. In addition to presenting her work and boasting about it, it is good for the younger generations to see what heritage we have and to understand that there was a time when pioneers of art like Valbona and many of her contemporaries were women, who they broke the barriers and came to light with their art and ideas".

The activity of the caliber of Valbona Zherka, for the creative collective artistic opus of Kosovo, is also clothed with values ​​of artistic heritage. Her work and that of her contemporaries in various artistic mediums is considered a school in itself, which for young artists serves as a point of reference and inspiration.