It is not too late for the Ministry for the disfigured portraits of the artists


None of the 12 portraits of artists and writers on the left wall of the building of the Ministry of Culture can be distinguished, as long as the institutions give no sign that they will intervene so that the artists are not remembered with disfigured images (Photo: Driton Paçarada)

There are twenty-four portraits of artists that "decorate" the two front walls of the facility of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports. Although they were placed as a tribute to their contribution to art and not only, they have been defaced for many years now. The Ministry of Culture excuses itself that changing them is not its job, as the responsibility is transferred to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The MIA returns the matter to the MKRS, and the painter Zake Prelvukaj, the bearer of this project inaugurated in 2007, says that the intervention is necessary, while remembering that the placement of the portraits was temporary

It is a game of luck if passers-by can guess who is hiding behind the portraits of artists and writers on the walls of the Ministry of Culture. Of the 24 portraits, the half on the right side can be distinguished. The ones on the left have long since faded completely.

With long-disfigured images, the highest cultural institution in the country "honors" prominent figures who no longer live. He has no intention of intervening for their replacement, since the first meeting with the MKRS facility is exactly them.  

Portraits of names that mark the history of culture and literature a  of the history of this country - among whom Katarina Josipi, Melihate Ajeti, Besim Sahatçiu, Abdurrahman Nokshiqi-Abi, Rifat Kukaj, Faruk Begolli, Shani Pallaska, Ibrahim Rugova, Muslim Mulliqi, Malo Gami, Rexho Mulliqi, Agim Çavdarbasha, Ali Hadri and Muharrem Qena - were inaugurated on November 28, 2007. It was announced as the first step of an initiative for the artists' museum. The initiator of this project was the painter Zake Prelvukaj. The museum was never built. The portraits were transformed day by day.

Table tennis between the two ministries

According to the Ministry of Culture, replacing the portraits in its own facility is not their business.

The TIME team, after a long correspondence of e-mails and telephone conversations with the Division for Public Communication, has been waiting for an answer on this matter. A few days later, he was instructed to contact him at another address because "the Ministry of Culture is not responsible". According to the Division, an adequate response should be provided by the Department for Standards and Policies of Engineering and Management of Government Buildings in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs would reply after only 29 days. 

"We inform you that you should direct your request to the Information Office at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports", was the response by the e-mail of the Ministry of Interior to the address of KOKHA.

In better condition are the 12 portraits on the right side. At least in some of them it is clear which figure it is (Photo: Driton Paçarada)

The project that started as a museum for artists

Honoring the artists had been the primary goal when the portraits were inaugurated nearly 17 years ago. But not only.

"This project started as a kind of cultural policy at that time, to get to a museum for profiles of artists of different mediums, which I believe we really need. Then it is also like one  kind of awareness that art didn't start in Kosovo after the 90s, but art started much earlier here", said the painter Zake Prelvukaj, remembering the initiative she took. He says that at that time there was also a primary motive. It was intended that with the exposure of the portraits, young people would recognize these figures, but also that foreigners who visit Prishtina would have an insight into the prominent names of art.

Now this intervention serves as an overview of institutional neglect.

The potential for that ugly landscape to be transformed into something beautiful and above all non-derogatory for such figures is seen by Prelvukaj herself, who, despite being the initiator of this project, transfers the executive power and negligence in this case to "i the master of the house".

"Why not do something, instead of those outdated photographs, why not show the personalities who have contributed to the art scene in Kosovo. It is good to take a different form, for example every year it is decided by a different personality, but with larger dimensions, which would be determined by the relevant commission. It would be good to take another artistic form, even something digital, regardless of the medium", said Prelvukaj. According to her, those two walls should  always belong to cultural diplomacy, regardless of how it is decided to intervene in them.

"Those pictures are looking bad, disaster..."

The portrait of the prominent actor Faruk Begolli on the right wall of MKRS is among those that have escaped complete fading. 

Playwright Jeton Neziraj, at the same time author of the monograph on Begolli, has said that the placement of these portraits in this form does not constitute any very original or accomplished idea, but for him it is painful how those portraits continue to be exposed as half-baked.

"First of all, I must say that the idea of ​​those facade portraits was not a genius idea, on the contrary, it was a pale idea, just like this fading and bleaching that has happened to photographs since time. Now, the price of these ideas must be paid by the institutions, which, of course, have no other job than to stay with  brush and brush renovating and cleaning pictures. Those pictures are looking bad, a disaster, so they either need to be removed, or they should be done from the beginning, but with better quality material, right?  free, Chinese", said Neziraj.

The first intervention – two years after the inauguration

Another fact proves that the material was not of high quality. Twenty-six months and ten days after the inauguration, two portraits had to be intervened. Abdurrahman Nokshiqi - Abit and Besnik Sahatçi were replaced. Funds were paid for this intervention - from 300 euros for each, as the Ministry of Culture had confirmed at the time for "Kohë Ditore".

"The photographs of Abdurrahman Nokshiqi - Abit and Besnik Sahatçi have been damaged. This has caused the Ministry of Culture to allocate funds for the project, which was inaugurated only two years ago", reported "Koha Ditore" on February 11, 2010. The plasticization of 24 photographs alone cost almost eight thousand euros.  "The photographs are on the walls of MKRS until the moment when the artists' museum is opened. When the project of the artists' museum is realized, then they will be removed from there, because the placement of these photographs is only the initiative of the project, or rather a drop of water in the ocean", said Zake Prelvukaj at the time. "'The plasticization of each photo cost 320 euros', said Prelvukaj...", "Koha Ditore" had reported at the time.

"The MKRS... should be moved somewhere in Fushë-Kosovo"

Jeton Neziraj is not optimistic that the Ministry of Culture will resolve the project that turns 17 years old this November.

But the painter Visar Mulliqi, the son of the maestro Muslim Mulliqi -  whose portrait is at the top on the right wall  -  there is a proposal for the portraits, but also for the Ministry of Culture. 

"Those portraits must be done very well from the beginning. Let's do another project and fix it properly. That building should have become a museum of contemporary art", said Mulliqi. There is another idea for the institution that is in that facility. "The MKRS that writes letters should move somewhere in Fushë-Kosovo", said Mulliqi.