An internationally-renowned artist and photographer from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has spoken of her delight at having her exhibition in Kosova visited by two European Presidents.
President of Kosova, Atifete Jahjaga; President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev; Director of National Galley in Kosova, Erzen Shkololli
Lala Meredith-Vula, reader in art and photography at DMU, had her exhibition documenting the reconciliation of blood feuds in Kosova visited by the Presidents of Kosova and Bulgaria during a diplomatic expedition.
Rosen Plevneliev, President of Bulgaria, was taken to the National Gallery in Kosova by Kosovan President Atifete Jahjaga as part of the state visit to see Lala's 'Blood Memory' exhibition.
The exhibition is a powerful reminder as to where Kosova was just 25 years ago with her pictures of blood feud reconciliations as people in the 1990s tried to put an end to centuries of violence.
Lala took more than 1,000 photos during a period of several months spent in Kosova more than a quarter of a century ago, but for the premiere of her exhibition, the number of photographs was difficultly narrowed down to just 40. The 40 works were selected and curated by Karen McQuaid from Photographers' Gallery, London.
Lala, who has taught at DMU since 2012, said: “The idea behind the exhibition was to remind people of a time when they thought of greater things than they perhaps do now, especially forgiveness, which for me is the key word.
“I found out last week about the political visitors and I was really moved to hear about it. I was impressed to have politicians and important people looking at my work.”
As a famous artist and photographer who has worked with the likes of Damien Hirst, a prominent member of the Young British Artists group in the 90s and said to be the UK’s richest living artist, Lala puts her achievements in Kosova at the pinnacle of her career.
She added: “It’s definitely a highlight of my career because the show was so brilliant. It was so moving and professionally done, it was the most monumental show I’ve ever done.
“The event went mad on Facebook, people were photographing themselves there, there was national media coverage and the gallery was getting 1,000 more daily visits than usual.”
The reason for Lala’s personal connection with this exhibition comes from her own heritage as she is half Albanian and lived in Kosova for three years.
She said: “This was such a moving moment in history. Some of the revenge killing that had been going on had lasted for more than 100 years until people decided to do something about it.
“They were standing up and saying ‘I forgive you’ and they’d stop.
“Looking at the photos, you really feel like you’ve gone back in time.”
Posted on Friday 8th May 2015