One week ago, I had a message forwarded to the Albanian artist Arben Theodhosi, telling him of the conversations Petro and I have had about his art and our interpretations of it. This is what he had to say:
(My English is not perfect but I’ll try my best). Thank you for your interest and your writing. I like only to say few words about my experience in general. I like as well the description of your friend Petro. Only I have to tell you that my harsh and severe experience was the exile and not the jail. I think this is not without importance. To say the truth and [to] be honest, I’d never draw and paint if I were in jail. OK, working in the mine was really hard—and some say it was worse than jail—but the conditions in exile (after the 8 [h]ours of working [each] day) allowed me at least to read, paint, stay in my house with my mother and sister and sometimes enjoy the rough landscape.
You know, before my suffering period I had all the possibilities to learn and have good information about all the corners of the world’s Art history. And maybe it’s important: I never draw or painted anything in the soc-realistic style (not ’cause I was brave, but ’cause I was kind of invulnerable under my fathers position of that time)…I can tell also that my “suffering Period” or “dukkha” was a real treasure, and to be honest, I used to think about this from the first day I stepped [onto] those mountains around the copper-mine. First, I was part of the whole of my land’s history and second: some 4 years before my
exile, many friends of mine, having the same fate prepared me psychologically in some way.
My apology, I cannot express myself so good in English.
Thank you an all the best
Arben’s words are very humbling and I’d like to thank him for taking time to read and respond to my email.