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The Kosovo Culture Week held in Austria

Vienna , 10 October 2011 – During the past week, a Kosovo Culture Week was held in the premises of the Kosovo Embassy in Vienna. As part of the Culture Week a series of cultural events took place which were attended by a considerable number of diplomats, Austrian artists, friends of Kosovo and fellow citizens.

The opening ceremony of the Culture Week took place on Monday. The first event  was the opening of the exhibition of the Kosovar painter, poet and author Sylë Mujaj.

In his opening remarks, the Kosovo ambassador in Austria, Sabri Kiqmari, said that the purpose of the Week was to convey to the Austrian public and foreign diplomatic circles Kosovo’s cultural values.  "The public opinion here recognizes Kosovo mainly through political developments. What we want to offer, in turn, is the beautiful side of art, literature and music of Kosovo", said Kiqmari. Regarding the exhibition of painter Mujaj, Kosovo's Ambassador to Austria said that  he is from the generation of Kosovar students of 1981 who disagreed with the reality of the Serbian regime and resisted the censorship of free speech. "His artistic works symbolize the suffering under oppression and the burning desire for freedom and human dignity," said Kiqmari.

The opening ceremony was attended by Nagip Skënderi , general secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo, Salih Sefa, deputy consul of Kosovo in Zurich, representatives of the Vienna government and a great number of intellectuals and our activists in Diaspora.

In his remarks, Nagip Skenderi, general secretary of MFA, said that the myth which was prevalent in the past is being eliminated. This is because artists like Sylë Muja prove that Kosovo does not only export manual labourers but also painters, artists, people of culture, science and sports. Skenderi congratulated Muja and confirmed MFA’s support for such activities.

The well know Swiss painter Pierre du Pasquier said that he had met Sylë Muja in Lugano and for him he is an excellent artist. “His artistic value is immense “said Pasquier.

The literary evening with Rexhep Qosja brought together a considerable number of intellectuals from Kosovo and Austria, among whom was ambassador Albert Rohan. The president of the Austrian Writers’ Association Sidonia Binder  and the literary critic from Kosovo Agim Vinca were both guests of honour and panelists.
In his presentation, the literary critic Agim Vinca underscored in particular that Rexhep Qosja, an academician, is a prominent scholar of literature who wrote monumental works. He praised highly his role in establishing the Albanian studies in Kosovo.

Alban Beqiraj, a student and a young poet, read out selected fragments from Qosja’s novel “Death comes to me from such eyes” which has been translated into German.

The president of the Austrian Writers’ Association, Sidonia Binder, described Rexhep Qosja as one of the best novelists from Kosovo. She added that the cooperation with Kosovo in the field of literature in the future will be intensified even further. She responded positively to an invitation to visit Kosovo.

In his remarks, the academician Rexhep Qosja spoke about the development of the Albanian literature. He underlined the fact that the Albanian literature has had an atypical progress. “The Albanian Renaissance paved the way for the declaration of independence of the Albanian state. On the other hand, the Albanian literature between the two world wars and that of the 1950s and to this day is symbolized by the attempts on the part of Albanian authors to bring a modern spirit to literature, similar to the literature in other parts of the world”, said Qosja. The academician Rexhep Qosja, referring to the present time, concluded by saying that the modern times is a time which will borne out great works.

On Tuesday, at one of the most famous palaces in Vienna, a classic music concert with music by Albanian and foreign authors was held. The well known pianists from Kosovo Ardita Statovci and Lule Elezi performed. The mexosoprano Sanije Matoshi and the tenor Faik Hondozi performed songs from a wide ranging opus. The concert was attended by many guests including by many diplomats, the Columbian, Ecuadorian, Albanian, Estonian ambassadors, the US deputy ambassador  as well as representatives from diplomatic missions of Slovenia, Turkey, the Dominican Republic, Croatia, Macedonia etc.

On Thursday, a Kosovo embassy open day was held during which Kosovo and foreign citizens, teachers and students from Albanian schools visited the premises of the embassy and talked to the embassy staff about many issues. They were received also in special meetings by Ambassador Kiqmari.

The Kosovo Culture Week was closed on Sunday with a folk music concert staged by the Albanian Dance School “Shota” from Switzerland and associations “12 June” e “17 February” from Austria. The concert was attended by numerous participants.
During his concluding remarks, ambassador Kiqmari assessed the Kosovo Culture Week in Austria as successful. “For a full week, artists, writers, scholars, music players and dancers have brought out the best of Kosovo, its cultural and artistic side “said Kiqmari. He thanked all those who contributed to the organization of the Culture Week.