ARDHJE Award 2020 — artists shortlist

We are happy to announce the artists shortlist for the 12th edition of ARDHJE Award 2020 :

Bib Frrokaj (Lezhë, 1992)

Lori Lako (Pogradec, 1991)

Floida Skraqi (Lushnje, 1989)

Vangjush Vellahu (Pogradec, 1987)

Shortlisted artists will be commissioned to create the new works on view in exhibition at the Zeta Gallery in Tirana. The price will be awarded at the open ceremony in Nevember 2020.

The 12th edition of the ARDHJE 2020 Award for young artists is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Trust for Mutual Understanding and Residency Unlimited in New York.
The two institutions helped to have a budget dedicated to the production of works for finalist artists; the presence of two international jury members and the local curator who will work with the four artists until the presentation of their projects at the exhibition.

We remind you that the ARDHJE Award was initiated in 2005, by TICA – Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art and became part of the regional network Young Visual Artists Award in Central and Southeast Europe, in 2007. In its longevity, this award has found generally financial support from international institutions and kindness from the local independent scene.

Get to know with ARDHJE Award 2020 finalists!

BIB FRROKAJ was born in 1992 in Lezha, Albania. He studied at the University of Arts in Tirana (2014 – 2016); L. Gurakuqi University, in Shkodra (2011 – 2014) and currently lives and works in Lezha.

FRROKAJ’s work has been exhibited in the Marubi National Museum of Photography, Shkodra–Albania (2020); FAB Gallery, Tirana–Albania (2019); Shkodra Art Gallery, Shkodra–Albania (finalist of the ‘Idromeno’ Award) 5th Edition (2017); ‘View on my Neighbor’, Gallery of the French Institute, Belgrade–Serbia and in Pertovic Krusovci Palace, Podgorica–Montenegro (2017); ‘World Biennial Exhibition of Student Photography’, Serbia (2015); ‘Retro Time’, Pogradec Art Gallery, Albania (2015); ‘Drawing Biennial’, Ferizaj–Kosovo (2016, 2014); ‘Days of Culture’, Ferizaj–Kosovo (2015) among others.

Lori LAKO (1991, Pogradec, Albania) lives and works in Florence. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and during 2014 she also attended her MA classes at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich.

Through her work, mainly concerned with the internet and digital media, she reflects on the condition of post-modern humanity, outclassed by images and messages that hinder the decoding of the world, historical memory and listening to the self.

Her work has been exhibited in: Museo Novecento Firenze–Italy (2020); ZETA Contemporary Art Center, Tirana–Albania (2020); Villa Reale, Monza–Italy (2019); Espace Témoin, Geneva–Switzerland (2019); Lo schermo dell’Arte, Florence–Italy (2019); Casa Testori, Milan–Italy (2019); Manifattura Tabacchi, Florence–Italy (2019); Terzopiano Arte Contemporanea, Lucca–Italy (2019); Art House, Shkodër–Albania (2019); Civic Gallery of Shkodër–Albania (2018); CENTRO PECCI, Prato–Italy (2017) and Art Lab, Tirana–Abania (2016) among others.

Floida SKRAQI (1989, Lushnje, Albania) lives and works in Italy. She graduated from the Brera Fine Arts Academy, Milan–Italy (2015).

Her work is mainly related to social and cultural issues and is realized through various practices such as performance, video and photography.

Her work has been exhibited in: Espace Moss, Brussels–Belgium (2019); Macro Museum, Rome–Italy (2019); 17th Pink Screens – Queer Film Festival, Brussels–Belgium (2018); Cunst-link, Brussels–Belgium (2018); Sofia Underground – International Performance Art Festival, Sofia–Bulgaria (2018); MIMA, The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art, Brussels–Belgium (2018); CIAC Centro Italiano Arte Contemporanea, Foligno–Italy (2017); Parallel Project of Mediterranea 18 – Young Artist Biennale, Tirana–Albania (2017); Pals – Contemporary Performance Art Festival, Fylkingen, Stockholm–Sweden (2016); Giardini di Pietra, Parco delle Cave, Cursi, Lecce–Italy (2016); 17-Young Artists Mediterranea Biennial, Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan–Italy (2015) and the Testimony and Remembrance Museum, Shkodër–Albania (2015) among others.

Vangjush VELLAHU (1987, Pogradec–Albania) lives and works between Pogradec and Berlin. He is graduated from the National University of Arts, Bucharest–Romania (2011-2014) and the Muthesius University of Fine Arts, Kiel–Germany (2016).

In his work he is interested in travel as a medium to collect and tell stories. His works intertwine urban histories of entities that from an ideological and political stand point remain on the margins of recognition. His travels often take a shape of journal-like reconfigurations that attempt at re-defining the popular understanding of what borders or territories represent today.

His work has been exhibited in: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka–Croatia (2019); Projektraum – Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin–Germany (2019); Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana–Slovenia (2019); Tranzit, Cluj–Romania (2019); Hestia Art Residency & Exhibitions Bureau, Belgrade–Serbia (2018); Alert Studio, Bucharest–Romania (2018); Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum for Contemporary Art, Berlin–Germany (2018); Arthur Boskamp Stiftung, Hohenlockstedt–Germany (2018); Museum of Contemporary Art, Acri–Italy (2018); Onufri XXIII , National Gallery of Arts, Tirana–Albania (2017); Mediterranea 18 Young Artists Biennale, National Historical Museum, Tirana–Albania (2017); Arthur Boskamp Stiftung – Förderpreise, M.1, Hohenlockstedt–Germany (2017); Trade Fair Palace – National Gallery, Prague–Czech Republic (2016); Combinatul Fondului Plastic, Bucharest–Romania (2016); Fladernbunker Museum, Kiel–Germany (2016); Victoria Art Center, Bucharest–Romania (2016); Atelierhaus im Anscharpark-Haus 8, Kiel–Germany (2016); Brunswiker Pavillion, Kiel–Germany (2015) and Anscharpark-Haus 8, Kiel–Germany (2015) among others.

Get to know with ARDHJE Award 2020 jury!

Christiane KADA was born in Graz (1966). She has studied History of Art in Graz (mag. Phil.). After her internship at the Neue Galerie Graz (1989-1992), she became a head of Collections at the Neue Galerie Graz (1992-1997) after which she worked in Public relations for the Universalmuseum Joanneum (1997 – 2000) and then in Public relations for Provincial Governor Waltraud Klasnic (2000-2005 ). From 2006 she works in the Cultural Department, awards and grants for artists of all disciplines of Province of Styria. Since 2012 she is working on the development and continuous expansion of an international residency programme and network for Styrian and international artists of all disciplines and is also active as a curator in this area. Kada is a member of Advisory Committee on the Restoration of Jewish Cemeteries in Austria (Deputy Chairperson), a member of the Art Commission of the Diocese of Graz-Seckaue, as well as member of Advisory Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage at the Austrian UNESCO Commission.

Leonard QYLAFI (1980, Korça, Albania) is a visual artist who lives and works in Tirana. He studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, where he received his MFA degree in 2003. Profoundly linked to his personal life experience and a research-based meditation on material records (like books, films, or photographic documents), his paintings, videos and photography are as much investigations of the processes shaping the narration of events in his home country as they are subjective reflections on the nature of images as such. He represented Albania at the 57th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia (2017) and was the 2008 winner of ARDHJE Award For Young Visual Artists from Albania. He took part in international artist-in-residence programs such as: NIFCA – Nordic Institute of Contemporary Art, Helsinki (2005-2006); T.I.C.A – Institute of Contemporary Art, Tirana (2007); Kulturkontakt Austria, Vienna (2008) and ISCP – International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York (2009). His solo exhibitions so far include: “Occurrence in Present Tense”, La Biennale di Venezia – Albanian Pavillion (2017); “Imagery”, Zeta Gallery, Tirana (2016); “Museum of Nature”, Zeta Gallery, Tirana (2013). Among his group exhibitions, the most notable ones were held at venues such as: NiMAC Museum, Nicosia (2018); National Gallery of Art, Tirana (2017); MuCEM, Marseilles (2016); Izolyatsia Foundation, Kiev (2016); City Museum, Belgrade (2014); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2012); Kunst Raum Riehen, Basel (2012); MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen (2011), International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Tirana (2009) and BJCM – XIII Biennal of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, Puglia (2008).

Francesca ALTAMURA is a curator and organizer living in New York (unceded Canarsie/Lenape lands). She was recently appointed curator of the VII Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, alongside Lizaveta Matveeva, where they will debut their digital exhibition, “I don’t know whether the Earth is spinning or not…”. In 2021, they will curate a group exhibition together at Haus N, Athens, Greece. In 2019, she co-curated “Diedrick Brackens: darling divined” with Margot Norton, for the New Museum in New York; the exhibition will travel to the Blanton Museum of Art, Texas, in 2021. At the New Museum, she also curated presentations by Randa Maroufi (2020), Sydney Shen (2019), and Ahaad Alamoudi (2019), and has assisted on exhibitions by artists including Peter Saul, Daiga Grantina, Hans Haacke, Lubaina Himid, Marta Minujín, Nari Ward, Sarah Lucas, Thomas Bayrle, and John Akomfrah. She has curated exhibitions independently at The Carillon Gallery, Tarrant Community College South Campus, Fort Worth, Texas (2019), LADRÓNgalería, México City, México (2017), and The Government Art Collection, London, UK (2016). She has also contributed to the group exhibitions “The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement” (Phillips Collection, Washington DC), “The Same River Twice: Contemporary Art in Athens” (Benaki Museum, Athens), “Strange Days: Memories of the Future” (The Store X, London), and the 2018 New Museum Triennial: “Songs for Sabotage.” She proudly served as Delegate for the New Museum Union—UAW Local 2110, which formed in January 2019. Altamura holds an MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths, University of London.