Right behind the picturesque building of the library of the university in Pristina lies the Galeria e Arteve e Kosoves art gallery, a building whose specific facade made from stone brought from the area of Pec, causes it to stand out. The building where the gallery is now located was once the seat of the museum of the 1941-1945 war.
Today, the gallery is a gathering place for admirers of visual and other arts. "The gallery is currently a hub for activities in the area of painting and other visual arts in Kosovo," says sculptor Luan Mulliqi, who was recently replaced by painter Afrim Spahiu as the gallery's director, a post that he had held for years. Mulliqi says that since 1999, the Gallery has been equally open to foreign and domestic artists.
The latest exhibition to be held at the Gallery was one by artist Marijeta Sidovski from the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in July, a display called, "The Amazing World of Angels," which received excellent reviews in Kosovo. Mulliqi stresses that the Gallery has held exhibitions for all of Kosovo's painters including several Serb painters, the most interesting of which was an exhibition of works by painter Mladen Popović in 2002.
The Gallery of Art also serves as a place where art academy students in Pristina exhibit their first works and as a promoter of achievements in the fields of painting and other arts. As a result of cooperation between the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, which is charge of the Gallery, and international institutions, the Gallery has hosted numerous guests from Albania and other neighbouring states. Arts and culture journalist Bekim Bislimi says that Kosovo's Gallery of Art has been successful in promoting cultural values both those of beginners and veteran artists like Agron Bytyqi, Valbon Gashi, Afrim Spahiu, Naim Spahiu, Burim Miftiu, Saranda Kika, and others alike.
The Gallery is a place where artists and painters gather and is a veritable local cultural treasure. Bislimi stresses the important role that the institution plays in cultural exchange between Kosovo and neighbouring states. Twice each year, the Gallery stages exhibitions by painters or applied arts exhibitions by artists from the Balkan region, predominantly Albania. One important event in that respect, says Bislimi, was organized in July. The manifestation was called, "Tomorrow's Artists."
The event gathered young artists, winners of a competition organized by the U.S. embassy in Pristina. The Gallery has also released a number of art publications including "Modern Art in Kosovo," showcasing works in the fields of painting, sculpting, and graphic art. The Gallery also regularly hosts an international painting exhibition Gyon Mili along with the the international Muslim Mulliqi exhibition.
In 1999, the Gallery held five exhibitions, followed by 12 more the following year. One of the Gallery's most noteworthy exhibitions in 2002 was a retrospective exhibition of the late Agim Chavdarbasha, an academic sculptor. An exhibition of the works of ten young Japanese authors in 2003 was a treat for art fans, along with an exhibition of world ceramics, "Ceramic Plates," by Croatian artists at the start of 2004.
* Under UNSCR 1244/1999