AUTOBIOGRAPHY, 1960–ONGOING - Autostrada Biennale


Artist: Xhevdet Xhafa

Venue: Hangar 3

Xhevdet Xhafa—the restless artist, pedagogue, modernist master, and father of three artists—has always responded to life and its beauties, conflicts, and antagonisms. His life has taken him from Dukagjin to Peja, and to Ljubljana, making his paintings visible in different parts of the region. Albanian folklore is Xhafa’s main inspiration: “Rich and honest folklore that we have; as we know Albanian folklore has for centuries been transmitted from one generation to another.” Black—a dominant color in Albanian folklore—has been the central energy of expression in Xhafa’s artistic universe. Objects of his everyday life sculpturally expand his surfaces as they speak of and the traces they embody. The works become ephemeral monuments to personal and collective memory, a way of writing and documenting life. Therefore, he names all of them Autobiographia. The Autobiographia paintings have survived a series of massacres and burnings, have borne witness to death, rebirth, and the life of a new country that never forgets its past and yet desires to build a new history. Xhafa is showing a selection of Autobiographia for the first time in Kosovo. In the demilitarized hangars of the ex-KFOR base in Prizren, they transmit their stories to younger generations, inspiring a new history.

Xhevdet Xhafa (1934) was born in Peja and lives and works in Prishtina.

Text by Övül Ö. Durmuşoğlu

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