Love stories and “forbidden” objects at the National Museum of Albania

They had never thought that there would be so many participants. They did not know whether to blush, feel embarrassed or not, but they felt this way only for a few moments, because it did not take long for them to realize that none of the participants judged them… “Art 1” the exhibition organized by the LGBT Alliance was expected with curiosity, yesterday at the National History Museum.

Beside community members, at the lobby of the National Historical Museum were present also representatives of the diplomatic corps in Tirana, various NGOs and civil society. At the opening ceremony there was also the representative of the European Union in Tirana Mr.Ettore Sequi, the Ambassador of the United States of America Mr. Alexander Arvizu, Charge d’Affaires of the Embassy of Sweden, who also supported the event Mr. Patrick Svensen etc, but there was no Albanian government representatives or any other representatives from any registered Albanian party.

This exhibition, which has taken the name of the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, opens the week of activities that coincides with May 17-th, International Day Against Homophobia, in commemoration of the removal of homosexuality from the International Classification of Diseases of the World Health Organization (WHO). While the event was held in the lobby of the Museum, outside there was a large number of police officers to insure the safety, even though nothing happened for them to intervene until the end of the ceremony.

The Ceremony
Thanking the National History Museum for the opportunity to display in their premises, one of the curators of the exhibition, Mr. Elvis Hoxhaj said that “it is the first time that the LGBT community is welcomed by such an institution, not only in Albania, but also in the Balkans. This is a milestone, because it shows that the community is already part of the history that we share together. ” And in fact one of the reasons why the exhibition organizers chose to open the exhibition exactly at the National Historical Museum, the institution that “conserves” the Albanian history, was to make it part of this history, which so far has not accepted them as part of it.

The Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of Sweden in Tirana, Patrick Svensen, said that because of social injustice, the LGBT community has been invisible until nowadays, its voice and needs are not heard, but that should change. According to him, in Albania some good steps are taken in this direction, the improvement of the legal framework, but when it comes to implementation, according to him there are still problems. Present at the opening ceremony of “Art 1” was also the Ombudsman Mr. Igli Totozani who used a quote from William Faulkner “to live today and be against equality because of race, colour or sexual orientation is like living in Alaska and hating the snow”. He listed all the efforts that have been made with regards to the protection of LGBT rights, the improvement of the legal framework, the amendments of the Criminal Code but also the improvement of the curricula in schools etc.

The Exhibition
This box of matches is a gift from the girl I was madly in love for the first time.” This was the note that accompanied a matchbox. It is written by a girl, a member of the LGBT community; objects that “inspirit” the exhibition “Art 1” especially the Albanian part. The most common objects include: a teddy bear, a clock, a tea cup, a hoodie, a love letter, a pendant, a Venetian mask etc. All these associated with short dedications from the owners who shared the emotions that these objects evoke in them to the visitors, which at first glance are “common”, but with a great emotional burden. The Swedish part, selected from six museums in Sweden (Swedish Police Museum, Royal Arsenal, the Nobel Museum, the Museum of Science and Technology, National Sports Museum and the Swedish Museum of History) was the strongest part of the exhibition. In one corner was exposed a radio, through which a young boy secretly heard gay radio waves of Stockholm, further a heap of sports clothing, to prove that homosexuality has always been present in sports, though denied, a little further something from the life of Queen Christine of Sweden, the Queen rumoured to be a lesbian, a series of “illegal” photographs of homosexual erotic since 1903, etc.

In the very heart of Tirana, the LGBT movement in Albania exposed around 40 objects of the LGBT Albanian community at the main hall of the National Historical Museum. This is the exhibition called Art.1 composed not only by the objects from the local LGBT community but also by objects from 6 museums of Sweden that tell the life of this community starting from the beginning of the 20th century. /

12 prizes…
“Art. 1” based on the article 1 of the Universal Human Rights Declaration was greeted from the Chargé d’Affair of the Swedish Embassy Mr. Patrik Swensen, the Ombudsman Mr. Igli Totozani, the curator of the exposition from the Unstraight Museum Mr. Ulf Pettersson but also dozens people from the community together with their family and their supporting friends.
The LGBT movement announced during this exhibition also 12 awards for the Ally of the year for the LGBT cause.

Mr. Fatos Lubonja a very well-known opinion maker, one of the winners of the award, was deeply touched from the award and he mentioned a comparison regarding the awards in general: “There are two types of awards”, he cited an Italian expression, “one kind is the one that the majority gives you and you should always refuse it because without any doubts you must have done something wrong since they are giving it to you, and another sort of award is the one given by the minority and this one yes, is a big honor and is not something you can refuse but rather ask yourself what have I done to deserve it”.
The other winners of this award announced from both organizations the Alliance LGBT and United for LGBT in Albania (Pro LGBT), were Mrs. Delina Fico, Mr. Igli Totozani, Mrs Desada Metaj, Mrs. Margarita Kristidhi, Mr. Gezim Tushe, Mrs. Iris Luarasi, Mr. Mustafa Nano, Mr. Foto Strakosha, Ms. Inida Gjata, Mrs. Elsa Ballauri and Mr. Arian Cani.

The exhibition made possible by the Unstraight Museum in cooperation with the Alliance Againt the Discrimination of LGBT people, supported by the Swedish Embassy, attracted the attention of the US Ambasador Mr. Alexander Arvizu, who told to the activist that he was impressed by the fact that in Albania the things are going pretty well regarding the LGBT movement, and that the support for the LGBT is growing. Mr. Ettore Sequi the EU Ambassador was also present in this event

by Redaksia Admin
Source – Historia IME