In lieu of a diary – Tirana

50 years have passed from 12 May 1967, that marks the sudden death by Vjosa River of Latif Fodulli, the engineer who had just started work for five months in the factory of Poliçan, Those who knew him as student in Çepan and Vlora, as student and professor in Tirana and China, as engineer and employee in Shkopet, Bistricë, Roskovec, Milot, Prrenjas, Lushnjë, Korça, Poliçan, left written memories, where appreciation for a young man with outstanding knowledge is quite high, often culminating by considering him a real phenome- non.
His death was covered by mystery, given the coffin was not opened. It remained an enigma for half a century. Those close to him believe it was perhaps the stellar intellect that decided his fate – sent him into the universe, where he belonged… The “why-s” have tormented his family and friends for five decades in a row, but in the end, the best condolence today is to bring him back through publishing his books and artworks that he left behind, and exhibiting today his modest contribution in the area of visual arts.
Latif was appreciated for his rather mature philosophical thinking, which went well beyond the age limits, but also for a rare artistic culture, where, particularly, his drawing skills prevailed. He could easily sketch and draw, fast and clearly, as well as spontaneously, people, objects and specific situations, through a rather unique approach, as admitted by several well-known artists who managed to see some of 189 sketches and drawings he left behind as a precious heritage for his family. Some of those sketches will be made public today and in the days to follow, through the exhibition titled IN LIEU OF A DIARY, as actually his sketches and drawings look like a diary, but with no words, but with images that can talk, by reflecting even the state of mind of its author.
Muntaz Dhrami, People’s Sculptor: “These sketches speak for a talented young man. Some of them contain good ideas. If they were done by a well-known artist, they would have been highly appreciated, but unfortunately they are made by an unknown young man. It is strongly recommendable that are exhibited or become part of a book in memoriam Latif Fodulli, so that people can evaluate them.” Skënder Kamberi, Emeritus Painter: “Some one thousand two hundred pages of manuscripts of Latif Fodulli show his personality in the areas of literature and arts. All works Latif left behind such as drawings, whether individually or collectively, or even their fragments, can be exhibited to allow visitors and art admirers to assess the quality of the corpus of Latif Fodulli, the genius, the talented young man who completed 7 years of elementary school in my home city Vlora.”
Buhran Cami, Painter: “As I saw this collection of nearly two hundred drawings, I realized the man who did them had a rather rich soul. The passion for drawing has been part of his spiritual world. His paintings are full of energy. It is an exploding passion, with a grotesque trend. His paintings generate, from time to time, explosion, rebellion, freedom, as if seeking to retrieve freedom, pure freedom.”
Stefan Taçi, Painter: “The author of these drawings appears to have been impulsive, because he worked in several genres and any paper that occasionally ends up in his hands. The grotesque trend catches the eye. Often he manages to highlight some very good values in his drawings and express his impressions in a fine delicate line, and straightforward. His drawings take from real life charac- ters. He wanted to draw the inner impulses and achieved it thanks to his obvious talent. The colored painting and a particular object drawn by a black pencil are two of the most impressive, interesting and with a really powerful image. Although I do not understand what the object is, the image looks quite modern.”
Ing. Qemal Koxhaj, his best friend: “Latif drew everything going through his mind as captured by the muse. His pen kept slipping softly on the surface of the pages of his school books, on notebooks, on the envelope of the letter his brother sent by mail, on the tiny note book, which always travelled with him, inside his pocket, on any paper randomly ending up in his hands, and he never stopped. Latif never used a rubber, he always preferred drawing clean.”
Visar Zhiti, Poet: “The intellectual potential of a young 27 years old man as Latif Fodulli, must be made known to the society; he should be considered as part of the fund of national cultural heritage, and a talent that died or got murdered, because he was a shining star, not only in engineering but also in arts and literature.”
Similar superlative considerations for the sketches and drawings of Latif Fodulli, were expressed by various artists, like Ardian Kapo, Idlir Koka, etc. Along with those considerations they seem to regret the disappearance of an artist that, undoubtedly, could have been included in the constellation of the prominent Albanian artists.
FONDACIONI KALO and GALERIAKALO strongly believe this exhibition, the first in its kind, shall be welcomed and visited with great interest from the community of art lovers of Tirana and wider. Finally, we thank Latif’s bother, Mr. Ilmi Fodulli (Qazimi) for the collaboration in the successful organization of this exhibition.