“Prime Minister Edi Rama is that rarest thing: not a politician with artistic leanings, but a real, bona fide artist in power. A former art professor, he had no intention to enter public life – and when he did, he didn’t fully abandon his initial career.”
“The paint-slathered capital of Tirana caused an international commotion.”
“Once the buildings were coloured, people started to get rid of the heavy fences of their shops. In the painted roads, we had 100% tax collection from the people, while tax collection was normally 4%. People accepted to pay their share for the city, because they realised that through the colours the city exists.”
“No leader has an office quite like Edi Rama. Covering the walls of his office in Tirana are hundreds of drawings: colourful, tightly wound abstractions, with tendrils of colour spiraling out from densely packed cores. The wallpaper, it turns out, is of the prime minister’s own design. “If art cannot make politics more sane,” Rama tells me when we meet one warm Tirana night, “politics, with its insanity, can sometimes make art even better.”1
In 1997, a national ponzi/pyramid investment scheme plunged the nation into anarchy, effecting 1 out of every 3 Albanians.
In 1999, 500,000 refugees fled into Albania.
70% of Albania is mountains.2
“King Zog I was probably the strangest monarch of the 20th century. TheTimescalled him ‘the bizarre King Zog’ and his biographer, Jason Tomes, quotes descriptions of him ranging from ‘a despotic brigand’ to ‘the last ruler of romance".3
“Zog was said to have regularly consumed 200 cigarettes a day giving him a possible claim to the dubious title of the world's heaviest smoker in 1929.”4,5
+ These expansive points of reference are intended to enhance neuroplasticity, positive thinking, empathy and situational awareness – to supplement the mainstream with some upstream.