'The room decorated in his paintings looks so much bigger, much happier and more appealing.'
This critique by Nobel laureate Ismail Kadare describes perfectly Rakip Shabani's magic brush. He was born in Tepelena, therefore, most of his works are inspired by his hometown. Eventually he moved to the city of Vlora, where he fell in love with the sea. The attachment for the nature made him traverse the country, moving from south to north, lodging in shepherds' tents, mountain tops and embroidering on his canvas all the impressions of every village and province in the country.
This has given him the sense of exploration not only for the grounds and places, but also for the wonderful spiritual world of the people he has met.
Shabani graduated from the Art high school in 1964 and graduated from the Academy of Arts in 1974. He was distinguished for his artworks on watercolor, which have awarded him the privilege of the only Albanian in the World Encyclopedia in this technique. He has exhibited his work worldwide, opening more than 50 exhibitions across the globe. Shabani's paintings have seen their fair share of the globe by being welcomed and liked all over the world as in England, America, Argentina, Japan, Greece, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, etc.
He won his first national award in 1974, with the painting Nëna Labe, which is also in the NAG fund, as soon as he finished his studies.
Nëna Labe, 1974
In 1978, he was awarded the second prize for landscape work and this painting, in oil, is also in the NAG. Appraisals from the then presidents of Romania and Italy have been given for this artist who leaves a mark wherever his brush touches.
Memo Meto, 1978
He won the second prize for the graphic cycle from Mesaplik, 1980.
You can find more 24 of his artworks exhibited in the National Gallery of Albania and 21 in the City Gallery of Vlora.
The details of his brush speak so much that you marvel at the taste. Not only a good connoisseur of art, but also a very humble visitor finds in his works, in every canvas and tableau, deep knowledge of the history, ethnography and philosophy of the nation.
His art is a mixture of impressionism and expressionism within realism, which once again makes him unique in his style.
In the expressiveness of the landscapes in the background of the compositions about Ali Pasha Tepelena, "Who brought Doruntina", "Fairies bathing", the author not only cleverly illustrates the power and greatness of Ali Pasha, but in other paintings there is no shortage of interesting lyrical tones. Looking at the picture "Fairies bathing", you think that only the beautiful Albanian woman can be like that. In the legend "Who brought Doruntina" where people run away, flee into the sky, take their own lives or die, the author has carefully constructed the composition "Constantine and Doruntina". He is willing to speak through foreigners about Albanian beauty and ethnography, starting with Byron.
The cycle "Ali Pasha Tepelena" expresses the manliness and hospitality he gives to his friend, the Albanian. His work has been appreciated by the great Albanian writer Ismail Kadare, who liked his work for the popular spirit of the painter's work.
The art researcher, Ylli Drishti, presents the artist from the first years of artistic creativity up to recently. "Rakip Shabani entered the artistic high school without competing. As soon as Master Abdurrahim Buza saw his work, he invited him to Tirana. But the paradox is that he studied sculpture. In the years 1953-63, he studied sculpture, but his teacher, the one who stayed close to him, was once again master Buza". Drishti further shows that Shabani held close to his passion all his life, in about fifty years of creativity, that with passion and dedication he has realized hundreds of landscapes and at the same time portraits, in the oil technique and in watercolor. "There are several awards with which it has been evaluated. In 1974, in the national exhibition where he participated, he was awarded the first prize for the painting "Nëna Labe", which is in the NAG fund.
In 1978, he was awarded the second prize for landscape work and this painting, in oil, is in NAG, etc. Researcher Drishti further states that this author's impact with nature should be highly appreciated. "He is a brush painter. He preserves the magic and freshness of watercolor and at the same time we can appreciate him as an artist with special compositional perspectives".
Rakip Shabani is a continuation of the masters of the Albanian watercolor tradition. According to Drishti, starting with Gjergj Fishta, Simon Rroka, Fadil Pëllumbi, Sadik Kaceli, Helidon Haliti, etc. his works bring the magic of the Albanian landscape, his love for the transparency and color that this landscape has. "I would also appreciate it for something else. This painter is a producer and has a special code. He paints the landscapes from five in the morning until seven. He calls this time suitable, because the transparency of the light is greater. His paintings can also be divided into cycles: that of barons, of portraits in folk clothing, of Albanian churches and monasteries. We have the cycle devoted to Vlora, the coast and its villages, etc. In 2006, he was present at the NAG".
WRITING BY MOTHER TERESA GOSPAR, TEMPORARY DIRECTOR OF VILLA LUCE, SOMETIME ORGANIZER OF PROFESSOR SHABAN'S EXHIBITION IN MILAN
Milan, 15.10.91 Dear Professor Rakip SHABANI, God has given me the opportunity to meet you on my path and I thank him. It has been a very powerful spiritual experience for me, because you transmitted to my heart deep feelings that transformed in the expression of art, which corresponds to the BEAUTY OF GOD. I will always remember you as the MESSENGER of God's love and I will always pray that you will continue to be for your family and dear children the MANIFESTATION of this Beauty of the Creator in every creation of yours. Thank you for this pure SPIRITUAL UNION and I salute you very, very much! Ms. Teresa Gospar Community 'Villa Luce', Milan
SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS
Exhibition in Milan, organized by Madre Teresa Gospar, then director of Villa Luce.
Exhibition in Romania, containing the most special pieces from Albania and Romania, brought in watercolor and oil
Rakip Shabani and the then President of Romania
Exhibition in Greece, organized by the Mayor of Athens. The exhibition features a variety of works, including works from ancient Greece and the history of Albania.
Rakip Shabani, the then Mayor of Athens and the then Albanian Ambassador, Hysen Cabej
Exhibition "A little sea in Vlora". The picturesque landscape of Vlora is embellished more in the watercolor brush of prof. to Shabani.
Rakip Shabani and Dritëro Agolli
The exhibition in London, organized by the Veve Center brings together a variety of works of art to delight the eye and awaken the senses of art connoisseurs.
The exhibition "A little sea in Korçë" brings to Korçë a freshness of the coast embroidered on the canvas with care and skill.
"Christmas" exhibition, National History Museum. In this exhibition, the painter brings cult objects, churches, both in Greece and Albania, completing the festive framework that takes place in Tirana during the end of the year holidays.
Rakip Shabani and the Russian Ambassador
Personal exhibition, National Gallery of Art, 50 works in watercolor. The works mainly contain different landscapes, with the coast of Vlora occupying the most special place.
Exhibition 'Identity', National History Museum. 40 works in oil and watercolor bring attention to Albanian ethnography and archaeology. Cultural heritage is intertwined with costumes of different areas.
"Tirana Urban Graphic" exhibition, National Historical Museum. Tirana before the 40s, as it used to be. 33 graphic works describing the architectural and touristic places of Tirana.