By Avushe Zhuka and Sonila Mesareja
Left as adrift for 35 years, from the file for the restoration of the mosaic “Albania” lack the official documents and projects submitted by the perpetrators for intervention. The Museum director rejects the government’s intervention in mosaic regardless of the opinion of specialists
The scandal of damage to monuments of culture in our country continues to deepen even further. There is no longer the only monuments in remote areas left in limbo. At the heart of the capital is found another important cultural monument mosaic “Albania” left adrift to a full degradation. In the past 6 years all institutions such as the Ministry of Culture, the Institute of Cultural Monuments, the Regional Directorate of Monuments have been silent and not put on offense where all parts are cut.
But what makes the situation even more serious is the abolition of official documents from the file for the restoration of the mosaic, in which unfortunately were only three documents, a project idea, a project approved and the relationship to the state. Also in the dossier lacked a signed agreement between the Ministry of Culture, a private entity and the Institute of Monuments to provide a fund for the restoration of the mosaic. Contacted by investigim.al, officials or former officials of the Ministry of Culture, the Institute of Cultural Monuments and the Regional directorate of Monuments in Tirana, said that there was an agreement, but did not know where is this letter, for what sum was discussed that will be invested and for what reason was the unilateral withdrawal from the institution of culture. But the agreement is not the only piece missing in this file, and it appears that is not ever entered there. They lack the two projects submitted by the perpetrators in cooperation with the head of the National History Museum, Melsi Labi.
Lack of several project proposals for the restoration of full and partial mosaic casting even more doubt on the fact that why in all these years the institutions have publicly stated they would resolve the issue of restoration of the monument, when in fact none of them keep this promise. In fact this is not the only scandal found during our investigation, as the file is also a project approved by the National Council of Restoration. Project approved in 2010 for the partial restoration of the mosaic is bedridden drawers of institutions, not ever put into practice, and even turns out that neither is amended by a second decision by the Council.
In the creation file declared a cultural monument in 2007 were found a few documents as creation history, the study of the work report in 2010 and the report on the condition of the mosaic in 2014. Likewise, the file contains the idea of the adoption of the draft approved by KKR to date 04.05.2010 and the approved project on 12.10.2010. There are not found the agreements signed with private company for its restoration or project ideas proposed by the authors in collaboration with the Museum. For those proposals which did not find support from the Ministry of Culture and KMI speaks the director of the History Museum, Melsi Labi. He states that in cooperation with the perpetrators they have submitted two draft ideas for the restoration of the mosaic. Labi says that he is occasionally run to the institutions for this problem, but received lukewarm response from them. “We did a project with the perpetrators and presented it to the Ministry. In our project we would give a 80-year guarantee for the longevity of the mosaic. This project totaled EUR 800 thousand. While the authors propose a partial intervention, project totaled EUR 150 thousand. Partial project lasted 10 years of life the mosaic. But after the submission of the project to the Minister, was not given a concrete solution to this work, “said Labi.
Ministry of Culture admits that the only documents are those in the folder for the mosaic. It is an agreement signed in July 2010 between the Ministry of Culture and a private company. This agreement may result in the implementation of the project restoration. But everything was just within the presentations and words, while scaffolding erected by private company for the restoration of the mosaic served only to advertise its name free in Tirana city for months. Former director of the Regional Directorate of Monuments in Tirana, Arber Kadia says that the project approved in 2010 was not implemented for lack of funds, although the creation needs urgent intervention. “The intervention was not conducted for funding issues. We have presented at the time as the need for restoration. And the allocation of funds from the budget was made from the responsible institutions, as well as the set list that had the Ministry to whom would be given priority in the restoration, “says Kadia. He adds that in 2010 was the agreement between the Ministry of Culture, the Regional Directorate of Monuments and the private company that took over the funding of the restoration of the mosaic. “I am not clear why the agreement was not implemented, but to my knowledge has been a matter of procedures and it was the Ministry of Culture who withdrew from the deal,” says Kadia.
Department of the Institute of Cultural Monuments “Gani Strazimiri” respond to the request for information “Journalists Association of Justice,” explaining that a project for the restoration of this mosaic was adopted in 2010. As was previously drafted a concept note intervention in the mosaic that was approved in principle by the National Council of Restoration. In the project that bears the signature of the Head of the Art sector, Agron Islami and KKR’s secretary Apollon Bace, ascertained damages and is clearly described where interventions will be carried out in mosaic restoration. The estimates are provided for the project in the amount of about 18 million ALL and plus TVSH-se on the total value amount to the sum of 21 million 500 thousand ALL. About 35 years after the execution of the work, it was the first time that this mosaic passed such a stage of study and diagnostic
In 2008 were noticed the mosaic injuries, starting with cracks and fall (platelet component), while only in 2010 a study was conducted to analyze the diagnosis of the level of degradation, the problems and injuries. The study and diagnosis of the work was carried out by Albanian and foreign experts, as Agron Islami, Edlira Caushi, Arber Kadia, Klejdi Zguro, Lavdie Birbo, Arben and consultants Carlo Usai and Massimo Aragno. In the statement sent to the Institute of Cultural Monuments, after having ascertained the condition of the work, defined as the need to intervene to address the problems encountered. According to experts, the reason for termination of the mosaic originates from the initial misconception or wrongdoing because of the lack of experience in implementation of such acts. In the report concluded in 2010 that the mosaic cannot be a fault of the repair of work because the creation is moving toward total degradation due to not being well designed will try continuously to further degradation. Although the restorers clarify that the purpose of intervention is to prevent degradation of the work, work life extension and repair of serious defects, more visible, to restore the aesthetic value of the work for a long time.
Mosaic authors themselves say they have years waiting to do the restauration of damaged work. One of them, Alexander Filipi says that two years ago they were called by the leaders of the National Historic Museum where they presented a project for the restoration work. Their draft – idea proposed a total reconstruction of the mosaic, while the authors gave guarantees to extend the life of the work for 80 years. According to him, this work can live more if there will be hands on. Another author, Josif Dobroniku explains that have submitted to the Directorate of the Museum two project plans. The first proposal deals with the conservation work by preventing degradation of the close of the mosaic and another proposal aimed its restoration. By not understanding the delays of the institutions to intervene specifically in the deed, Dobroniku expressed over the delay doubting that did not allow the implementation of the project approved by the Restauration Council five years ago. “Of course the creation has salvation although there continues to be undermined and degraded in time. I do not believe that it is difficult to find the funds to intervene, but what is clearly understand that there is no purpose, “says Dobroniku. By stopping to the materials and funds needed to restore this mosaic, Dobroniku shows that materials, charities are not missing. From the moment that was realized the works in the museum’s warehouse are located sacks all filled with medical card (platelets) and during this time they could be used to restore the work.
Director of the Institute of Cultural Monuments, Arta Dollani states that the work will be held in life being restored. Dollani explains that is envisaged a project for the restoration of the National History Museum, which will include the restoration of the mosaic. “We have no preventive or concrete figures on how much can be the cost and the fund required for the restoration of this work. This will be done by those who will win the project for the restoration of the museum, “says Dollani. Some time ago the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Culture announced the national competition for the revitalization and reuse of “Cultural Quartet” consisting of four buildings, among which the National History Museum. In this contest the restoration of the Museum includes mosaic “Albania”. It is a contest that was announced open for the restoration of four works among which is the museum, where at the end will be announced the winner. The agreement will be signed in January – February and during 2016 will be made the introduction and adaptation of the study, whereas the implementation of the project remains for the period 2016-2017, undefined. The question now is: Will the mosaic resist the two years between the destruction of persistent injuries which in some places by expert restorers has injuries that go over a meter?
Problems appear even more disturbing because the national competition announced by the Prime Minister and the Ministry was made without consultation with the director of the museum. Ministry is expressed categorically against such a decision that excludes the very institution concerned, which he thinks that turns into a dictatorship this decision. Melsi Labi states that if there will be no official communications for the projects including mosaic and museum located in its body, would not allow the project to be realized. “Regarding the project of the Ministry of Culture for the reconstruction of the National Museum including Mosaic, we have no official information or any official document. In fact, we as a group of interest are not called in any table or to ask our opinion for these interventions. How can become a project for the reconstruction of the museum and should not be asked the specialists or managers of the museum? “says Labi. According to him, the solution to the mosaic should done in a legal way to avoid amending the institutional clash relating to the dependence of the mosaic.
Mosaic “Albania” is realized by a group of five artists, namely: Vilson Kilica Alexander Filipi, Josef Dobroniku, Anastas Konstantini, Agim Nebiu. The mosaic area over 440 square meters was set in front of the National History Museum. It was baptized with the name “Albania” and was inaugurated on the occasion of Independence Day on November 28, 1981 at the same day that was opened the National History Museum. Since the creation of the mosaic “Albania” has been intervened only once after 1990. At that time to the mosaic was removed the symbol of communism, a star, while was not made any other restoration work although over the years it has emerged injuries which over time they have become even bigger. Such injuries, according to specialists are seriously endangering the longevity of the mosaic which is transformed into the image of Albania in the world.
Helped the students of Journalism, Alteo Hysi and Kristina Millona
*This project is funded by the Small Grants Programme of the Commission for Democracy of the US Embassy in Tirana. The opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author / s and do not necessarily represent those of the Department of State
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