Between 15 and 19 of May, a new exhibition is coming to Tirana.
Entitled ‘Culture of Humiliation’ and created by artist Antonij Karadzoski, it addresses issues surrounding human rights, LGBTIQ+ rights, and gender equality.
Whilst growing up in Macedonia, Karadzoski faced a lot of bullying, discrimination and homophobia from a very young age. This motivated him to focus his life’s work on making a difference through artivism in “difficult countries” throughout the Balkans as well as in countries such as Turkey, Palestine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
He describes the concept of artivism as: “the use of art as a non-violent method to change mentalities, cut through divides, and confront major and divisive social issues. The idea is that art allows people to empathize and connect with others on an emotional level and make people feel for the subjects in the art even though they don’t know them.”
“Culture of Humiliation” is his first artivist campaign and it seeks to raise awareness on bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
After exhibiting successfully in Ljubljana, Slovenia, Karadzoski was invited to present his work at the International Queer and Migrant Festival in Amsterdam where he first became involved with an organisation called Stitching art.1. He then began working with them as an intern, before becoming project manager there as well as at Queer Faces Migrant Voices and Youth Activists for Change. In 2018, Karadzoski was awarded the Human Rights Award during the International Queer and Migrant Film Festival for his inspiring work.
Karadzoski holds a degree in Architecture and Engineering but after leaving his native country of Macedonia due to persistent homophobia, he turned his focus of human rights and LGBTIQ+ rights. An artist and activist, otherwise known as an Artivist, he uses the medium of art to break down stereotypes and discrimination against the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Art is one of the few things that can really bring people together. It is a tool that can take limited resources and create something evocative and powerful. It can influence and inspire change. It is something that can cut through political and cultural divides and it is one of the greatest ways to express the best and most human parts of ourselves,” says Karadzoski.
The exhibition will take place at Tirana Ekspress between 15 and 19 May and it will kick off with a reception between 17:00 and 19:30 on the first day.
The award-winning exhibitions venture in Tirana is due to a collaboration between Arber Kodra of Open Mind Spectrum Albania, and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It is curated by Blerina Berberi.
Kodra is a leading LGBTIQ+ activist in Albania and has been involved in a number of groundbreaking initiatives to promote greater tolerance and acceptance in the country.
The Dutch Embassy have also supported a number of LGBTIQ+ centric projects and remain committed to addressing human rights issues in Albania. The exhibition will take place within the framework of the project ‘Youth Activist for Change’- a project supporting LGBTIQ+ rights throughout the Western Balkans.
Kodra said in a statement to The Balkanista:
“I am very excited to bring this Exhibition to Tirana for the first time. Antonij Karadzoski is an amazing artist, human being, and friend and I am proud that he is bringing the ‘Culture of Humiliation; to the Albanian public. The exhibition will raise the awareness of the issue of bulluying and cyber bulluying which is very common both in Albania and across the reigon.”
He added: “I would also like to thank the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dutch Embassy in Tirana, and Stitching art.1 for their support.”
The exhibition takes places during a week dedicated to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
This article was originally published on The Balkanista.