Arts Interventions Development


Gjirokastra, Albania, 2019

Guardians of Paradise – Man and Masses in North Korea  

Zeta Galery, Traavik.Info and the Municipality of Gjirokastra present the world premiere of a photo installation by Traavik.Info.

11.06.19 – 01.08.19 @ Kadare House, Gjirokastra, Albania - the hometown of poets and dictators, in the land of eagles.

After the opening of the exhibition, LIBERATION DAY the international hit documentary about the first-ever (and possibly last) rock concert in North Korea, had its Albanian theatrical premiere with an open-air screening the Castle of Gjirokastra. 

Totalitarianism is not only hell, but all the dream of paradise– the age-old dream of a world where everybody would live in harmony, united by a single common will and faith, without secrets from one another (…) If totalitarianism did not exploit these archetypes, which are deep inside us all and rooted deep in all religions, it could never attract so many people, especially during the early phases of its existence. Once the dream of paradise starts to turn into reality, however, here and there people begin to crop up who stand in its way. and so the rulers of paradise must build a little gulag on the side of Eden. In the course of time this gulag grows ever bigger and more perfect, while the adjoining paradise gets even smaller and poorer.

Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

We, the Guardians of Paradise exhibition team, find it especially meaningful to have its world premiere in Gjirokastër, the birthplace of very different dreams of paradise. This UNESCO World Heritage city is namely the hometown of not only People’s Socialist Republic of Albania founding father and dictator-for-life Enver Hoxha, but no less importantly the country’smost famous writer Ismail Kadare. Himself for decades walking the razor’s edge between collaboration and dissidence, creativity and censorship in Europe’s most isolated and totalitarian state, many of Kadare’scelebrated stories such as “Chronice in Stone”, and “The Wrong Dinner” and “The Fall of the Stone City” take place in Gjirokastër. 

It is the hallmark of any deep truth that its negation is also a deep truth.

Niels Bohr, nuclear physicist and Nobel Prize laureate


“Liberation Day” director Morten Traavik talks North Korea, boycotts, ‘totalkunst’ and Yugoslavia (Interview for Kosovo 2.0, August 2017)

Supported by Art Council Norway, Municipality of Gjirokastra and Ministry of Culture of Albania