ARDHJE Award 2020 – Winner

We are pleased to announce that the winner of the 12 edition of ARDHJE Award for Young Visual Artists from Albania is Lori LAKO with her installation – video, digital print, “suspense” (2020).

The 2020 Ardhje Award Winner was announced by Leonard QYLAFI, one of the international jury members (including Christiane KADA and Francesca ALTAMURA) during the opening ceremony of finalists exhibition on Thursday, 12 of November, at Zeta Gallery – Tirana.


We would first like to voice our immense gratitude and thanks to Valentina Koça, from Zeta Galeri, who has invited us to convene on the jury panel for the prestigious 2020 ARDHJE award. Amidst global financial precarity, food scarcity, housing injustice, and a lack of universal health care; we appreciate Zeta Galeri, as well as Residency Unlimited, for their ongoing commitment to supporting young and emerging artists, even throughout such dark and troubling times.

Together, we are Christiane Kada, current director of an artist residency program based in Graz, whose long-term practice has championed for the restoration and preservation of cultural heritage within Austria and beyond; Leonard Qylafi, a visual artist based in Tirana and winner of the ARDHJE award in 2008; and Francesca Altamura, a curator, arts labor organizer and friend of Residency Unlimited based in New York City. We are humbled by the difficult decision we have had to make in selecting just one recipient for the 2020 ARDHJE award, and first would like to acknowledge them for their hard work and artistic vision. Thank you to Bib Frrokaj, Lori Lako, Floida Skraqi dhe Vangjush Vellahu; we wish you all the best in your future careers, and hope you will “keep up the good fight.” Cheers to you all for a successful opening!

We respect the winning artist’s delicateness in elucidating, for a general public, a (potentially failed and buried) moment in Albania’s history, and feel that a return to the past is a befitting methodology for understanding today’s socio-political present. We know that hard truths are difficult to define, and so, we appreciate the self-reflexive nature of this artist’s work. From her statement, she examines how Albanian industrialism was essentially a project of politics and, in its apocalypse, produced a great regression, the consequences of which continue as conveyed through her 1-minute video work and monumental print image.

Please join us in congratulating the winner of the 2020 ARDHJE award, who Leonard will congratulate on behalf of the entire jury panel, in person tonight, and who Christiane and Francesca will welcome to Graz and New York, respectively, one day: LORI LAKO.

The ARDHJE Award 2020 Winner will have the opportunity to take part in a two-month artist-in-residency program in New York next year, organized by Residency Unlimited, and generously supported by the The Trust for Mutual Understanding, New York. Over the year 2021, the winner will also have an opportunity to show the results of his residency abroad through a solo exhibition at ZETA Gallery.

Besides Lori Lako’s video, the 2020 ARDHJE Award Finalists Exhibition (curated by Alban Hajdinaj) is featuring: single channel video, by Bib FRROKAJ (the long wait, 2020), a single channel video, by Floida SKRAQI (“sisyphus’ labour, 2020), and a video, two channel, by Vangjush VELLAHU (“a tool of resistance”, 2019).

The exhibition remains open until December 2, 2020.

installation, video, color, loop, 1’ 34’’
digital print, 206 x 155 cm,