Workshop on building the archive of photography

 Nafis Lokvica / Interview

18 November, 2018

Due to the lack of galleries in the city of Prizren, the first edition of Autostrada Biennale, with the topic “The Future of Borders”, was held in different places, transforming them into galleries and thus opening a discussion about the problem of the lack of galleries in the city.

The solution was for every potential point of the city to be transformed into an exhibition space.Some of the spaces used for the exhibition were historic buildings, museums, public places, while the rest of the spaces were private houses inhabited by people.

Some of the most distinctive features of these houses are: sustainability over the centuries, nostalgia and various other experiences, as well as the cultural heritage of the city of Prizren. Hospitable people who had no connection to the Autostrada Biennale, opened their doors to the exhibition and in this way met modern art with everyday life in the same sphere. These two different concepts, which seem to be too far apart, are integrated under the theme of “The Future of Borders” or in Albanian “E Ardhmja e Kufijve.”

Such a case of a man who loves art and has lived an entire life with it, is Nafis Lokvica, who turned his home into one of the key points, and also a reference for visitors of Autostrada Biennale. In two large rooms on the last floor of his house, were placed pictures of the establishment of an industrial area and photos of a region under water in Taiwan.This idea was born in a parallel with the floods that happened in 1979 in Prizren, which affected Lokvica’s house.

On the upper floor of the house in the third room, a film was projected, the purpose of which was to attract attention to problems of land ownership in China. For many people and families in the city, the problem of land assets has parallels with the distribution of old houses and old lands in Prizren. The artist’s intention to introduce a new idea pushed his work out of his boundaries, while using the space and the integrating art structure of contemporary art in this regard.

Interview with Nafis Lokvica:

Citizens of Prizren proudly say that while Prishtina is the capital city of Kosovo, Prizren is the cultural capital of Kosovo. The whole culture starts from Prizren, that’s why it’s called an open museum. There is no gallery in Prizren, nowhere. This city, with over 200,000 inhabitants, has no gallery. We only have the hammam, which is used occasionally and we have no other gallery.

One day a friend of mine called, and told me that he wanted me to turn my house into a museum because it is old. I told him I had not lived in that house for more than five years. The house is in bad shape, we have to clean it. He said it was not a problem and we agreed to set it for a certain date. I gladly gave the house and after it was cleaned, my house returned to a museum.

I think it was a very successful biennial because there were a lot of visitors. Maybe after the biennial I will turn this place into a gallery. I will invite artists from different places in Kosovo to open beautiful exhibitions and continue to beautify these walls. This house is available for this kind of art, there are the walls, the yard, we have everything, it can be done.

Another thing that honored me is the fact that my archive over the years has been exhibited. They set up a private room for me and exposed my work. On the other hand, I can say that the creation of the archive started as a hobby and later became a phobia, because I did not want to miss a moment. I wanted to record, film, photograph everything, I felt the need to keep it all because I know that all of these things will one day become history.

All these recordings were in my shop. I had a photo store, where I showed all my work. After I closed the shop, I moved to a new house. Here is just one part of my work, because I have moved from here the most important tapes and the most valuable movies, since there is no place in the living room. There are pictures from 1988, and we have some footage even earlier. The first camera I had is also here.