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The National Contest of the Artistic Photography “Marubi” was organized for the first time on 10 October 1998 with the initiative of the Director of the National Arts’ Gallery,  Gezim Qendro and with the support of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS).

During this activity, in the honor of the Albanian tradition of photography, 32 photos were exhibited by Kel Kodheli, Gege Marubi, Pjeter Marubi, Kristaq Sotiri, Vani Burda, Papa-Jani Zengo, Mehmet Kallfa, Shan Pici, Mati Kodheli and Kole Kuqali.

Furthermore, 89 photos by 51 artists, professional photographers and amateurs were exhibited; the curator of the first exhibition of artistic photo was Albes Fusha. The jury composed by Faruk Basha – producer, Gazmend Leka – painter, Leon Cika – photo artist, Nikolin Pici – photographer, gave the first prize to Artur Gorishti, the second prize to Albes Fusha, the third prize to Roland Tasho. The prize of the “Fotografia Art” magazine given by Besim Fusha was awarded to Armand Abazi. Every year, this prize would accompany the “Marubi” edition with an amazing correctness. A special contribution to this activity is given by Pirro Nace. “I appreciate this initiative of the National Gallery of Arts which encourages the artistic photography and I hope that year by year the level of this kind of photography will be raised and someday it will turn into a tradition” (Albes Fusha).

“Marubi 99” was organized on 27 March 1999 and for the thirst time it was announced “International”. The curator of the activity was Edi Muka. The participant exhibitors were 20 foreign authors with 33 works and 46 Albanian authors with 74 works. Since it was planned as an exhibition, not as a contest, there were only two prizes given by an international jury, composed by Mathias Harder (Germany), Albes Fusha – photo artist, Leon Cika – artistic photographer, Viktor Gjika – producer. The prize of “Fotografia Art” magazine was given to Zamir Marika with his work titled “Tregu prane Parlamentit – The market close to the Parliament”, while “Foto Kumi” awarded the encouraging prize to Altin Gagani ( photo camera).

“Marubi 99” is a new experience in the history of the perception of photography as art in Albania, which similar to other cultural-social events could not avoid the consequence of geopolitics and the creation of one of the saddest and hardest experiences of the Albanian people, the Kosovo case; however this is a courageous step and leaves space to its continuity”. Edi Muka.

Despite the threat of failure which the festival could not avoid due to insufficient time and financing problems, with the support of MCYS it was managed to publish the catalogue of works.

“Marubi 2000” was organized on 5 April 2000 and it was again an exhibition not a contest; Curator of the activity was Mr. Gezim Qendro. The jury made by Luan Mulliqi, Director of Arts’ Gallery in Prishtina, Gezim Qendro, Leon Cika and Albes Fusha. The prize of “Fotogrgafia Art” magazine this time was awarded to the photographer Alqi Golloshi with the work “Eklips 99”. “Italkumi” prize was awarded to Beti Kumi by the well known photographer Petrit Kumi. This activity had the participation of 53 Albanian authors and 9 foreigners with 72 photos. We emphasize that MCYS which was also co-author of this project, did not contribute to its financing.

“Marubi 2001” was organized on 10 March 2001 with the status of “Contest”, however still no financed by the MCYS. The National Gallery of Arts covered the honoraries for the prizes and the Jury with its own funds. The activity had no nominated Curator. The number of works that were introduced in this activity was 84 made by 43 Albanian authors and 10 by 6 foreign ones.

The jury, made by Gezim Erebara – producer, Mathias Harder and Artur Gorishti – actor/photographer, awards the first prize to Albes Fusha, the second prize to Jutta Benzenberg, third prize to Violeta Carku. The prize of “Fotografia Art” magazine was given to Admir Gjoka. “Italkumi” leaves the activity. “Marubi” started in memory of the big masters of the Albanian photography; however efforts always went on in order to put this most contemporary media of the century on its honored place along with other visual arts.

“Marubi 2002” started on 25 April 2002 and had complete commitment and right awareness regarding the previous experiences “exhibition or competition”, “selection or participation”. Despite the change of officials of the institution, thanks to a very good organization it was considered as the most successful edition of “Marubi” in years. It was noticed a big participation of students recently graduated from the Arts Academy, whose competition gave new breath to the activity, together with the yearly amateurs of this manifestation of the artistic photography. The jury composed by Alqi Golloshi, photographer, Emine Gorani, architect, Ilir Butka, producer, artist, announced as winner Zamir Marika, the second prize went to Fatmir Dardha, third prize Cvetan Gavrovski (Macedonia) and special prize to Philip Gostilov (Australia), the prize of “Fotografia Art” magazine was awarded to Eliano Kalemi. The Organizational Council of “Marubi 2002” made by Abaz Hado-chairman, Albes Fusha-curator, Gezim Panariti-coordinator, in addition to the participants of “Marubi 2002”, exhibited as well a selection of 100 works by the famous photographer of Korca, Kristaq Sotiri, and this was later on turned into a tradition of this contest. The number of works exhibited was 102 by artists, photographers and amateurs out of these 56 were Albanian authors and 8 foreigners, thus creating a bigger overview which would enable to make proper assessment of the art of photography in our country.

Considering the enrichment of the art of photography as a necessary contribution we do believe in the values that were experimented and which will be created by this art of the époque, otherwise called “Époque of photography” (Abaz Hado). The activity of the art of photography stands somewhere between professional and amateur photography, thus creating possibility for wide participation (Albes Fusha). “The exhibition of Sotiri`s photos in addition to the contest, made possible that the activity has a bigger margin of tastes, therefore also a more interested public. Kristaq Sotiri (1883-1970) comes to this activity as a master of the civilian photography in studio bringing as well a clear message for Albania, as part of the European civilization.

“This time “Marubi 2002” fixed the Albanian transition, but also the ambition that the photos are not only evidence of a selected reality, but evidence of an artistic reality as well” (Gezim Panariti)

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports gave full support to this activity and enabled the publishing of the catalogue.

 “Fotokozmos” as representative of Kodak in Albania, supported this activity for the first time.

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