|Communist Albania before 1992.|
|Prime Minister of Albania|
|No Communist official ever explained just who or what their |
hundreds of thousands of bunkers were intended to defend against.
|With the fall of the Berlin wall, 1989, the Communist nations went down like dominoes.|
|Edi Rama by Enobar|
|A new look for the city of Tiran--, |
What happens when a painter
becomes the mayor.
As so often happens when a repressive regime falls, once the dust settles, the new leadership often comes from the academic intelligentsia. In Albania, that included Edi Rama. He was asked by the then Prime Minister, Fatos Nano, to become Minister of Culture. Shortly thereafter he set about razing illegal structures built during the communist era, and embarking upon an ambitious course of urban planning. During this time, Tirana and other cities in Albania were just plain ugly. So, being a painter, he set about creating brightly colored designs for the horrid communist buildings, translating the drab to daring (bottom). As every politician, and virtually every artist quickly discovers, you can't please everyone. However in Rama's case he pleased enough of the citizens of Tirana to see him elected mayor in 2000, then to a second term in 2003, and a third term in 2007, before becoming his country's Prime Minister. The nice part about being an artist/politician is that you can design your own campaign materials from buttons to billboards and busses (below).
|Who could resist voting for a man brave enough to paint his |
campaign bus purple, red, blue, yellow, white, orange, and green?
|A Rama doodle, on official |
Prime Minister stationery.
|Before and after Edi Rama, Tirana, Albania.|
|The Yellow Apartments,|
|As many as 1,000 works of art, that were destined to leave the country.|
|Tirana tints, the ultimate giant canvas for a painter.|