Identity A visual and written portfolio

The destruction of an Idol. 2016. Mixed media

Reflecting on Nietzsche's Ecce Homo, I found myself questioning the existence of my idol. In the midst of the search I discovered that I have destroyed all existing idols and have made one myself, made from of all the pieces that puzzle my identity. Just like this painting lacks a focal point, I lack the faith in one existing idol. Both the background and the foreground have a dual consistency: the first can be interpreted as the pattern of the universe or the treasures of the underwater world while the foreground seems like little humans trying to fight their universe. All these thoughts and ideas have been a crucial discovery in the formation of my identity.

History and architecture. 2015. Berat, Gjirokaster, Kruje (Albania) Ink on paper, graphite, watercolor.

My passion for architecture has been fueled by the antiquity of my motherland, Albania. The air I breathe, the childhood I have shared and the appreciation for history are always linked to a scenery full of ancient buildings. My human experience would be empty without the weight of all the history these buildings behold. The architectural language of fortresses and cultural households have grown in me a taste for cultural design and have encouraged me to study architecture.

The water and salt of my tears. 2015. Plaster and acrylic paint.

When questioning my identity, I often find myself emerged in the crispy waters of my home country. When I close my eyes, my colors and theirs all become the same. Albania's sea and salt become the same as my tears.

Self Portrait. 2015. Pencil and watercolor.

Since the eyes are a reflection of the soul, I see mine belonging to a deer: elegant, vivid, sharp, light and free. The belly button is another form of self-portrait, differing in every person but also representing the gestation of one’s life through the umbilical cordon.

Traumas. 2016. Watercolor, oil pastel, charcoal and acrylic paint.

With bruises in the background, a strangling hand, a pressuring mouth and a stabbing knife, this painting represent the surrealism that the importance of violence brings. If objects bleed from the above, humans must too. Although this is a hyperbolic metaphor, it tries to convey a message of vulnerability. I am human and my strength lies in the power of accepting my vulnerability. Furthermore the metaphor serves as a tool for the awareness of domestic violence.

Livid. 2016. Mixed media. Tedx Exhibition

|liv·id| - purplish, bluish, discolored, furiously angry

This artwork is a very personal and universal one. The idea behind it is to show emotions through colors. The violet represents the struggles and lack of transparency in ideas. It slowly starts changing into orange and becoming more and more transparent, which means that the struggles are becoming more tangible and understandable. This painting is about my struggles, my pain and their resolution; it is about my pain and everyone else's. Part of the medium used is coarse salt to show that after the pain and the tears are gone all is left is the taste of salt. Pain and emotions are universal, there are no gender, sexuality, money or power in the face of pain, we all experience it. This is a reinforcement of the idea that personal strength is linked to vulnerability, without it I wouldn't be able to produce this artwork or connect with all the people who have seen it.

Nature and Photography. 2014-2017. NM, FL

Part of who I am today are the places I have lived in and the landscapes that have taken my breath away. In experiencing life in New Mexico at a boarding school (UWC), documenting its landscape has become part of who I am. The details, the curves, the lights, the flora and the fauna, all live in my memory and complement the bigger picture of who I am today. From looking at Tent Rocks in New Mexico my creativity was challenged in thinking that these are only waves made out of rocks. Florida on the other hand, has brought in the butterflies and the warm embrace. Butterflies taught me that leaving one's homeland just like they leave their own silk pad is a journey filled with challenges and personal growth.

Architecture. Ink on paper, prints, graphite, basswood and paper. 2016-2017

Architecture changed my perspective on creativity as I had to think about it in three dimensions. Linking wood prints and drawings, using materials to create new mediums was challenging but it developed my sense of creativity. Ideas of space and the journey of light had to be transferred from two dimensional artworks into built models. The expansion of space and light raised questions of knowledge expansion and self development. Just like light travels through mediums and creates a connection through open slits in the buildings so do humans. We choose to communicate and be transparent. While light is the tool that solidifies a material and determines a space, communication is the tool for humans to define their self identity. Designing has been very helpful in exploring these ideas of self determinism and identity.

Photography, painting and design are part of who I am. My identity is reflected in my creations and my creations make me. It is an endless cycle where both part complement one another into forming the big picture of self identity and self determinism.

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