By Zamira Rubjeka Clearwater Florida 5 March 2021
Why are these women with eyes closed in these portraits? This question came to my mind from the first moment I saw Saranda Xhemajli’s paintings on social networks. I pause with admiration and curiosity for the girl in the portrait and as I take a deep breath, I close my eyes to feel the sensation. Imagining these portraits slowly I emerged and traveled back in ancient times. What caught my attention at first, were the colorful costumes, gold, silver jewelry, and various accessories with Byzantine and oriental influences.
I love to explore and visit museums and my favorite ones are Dali and Ringling Brothers museums. Most painting have a story to tell even portraits. Normally, I focus on the eyes of the portrait trying to understand what the author is trying to express. As we know, eyes are the window of the soul. There you can see pain, sadness, passion, love, excitement, happiness, and inner peace of someone. Even though I cannot see their eyes, they still express feelings and messages.
All the sudden, all the sacrifices of Albanian mothers and women came to my mind. These mothers who are known to sacrifice themselves for the happiness and well-being of their children and their families. Most of the Albanian folk tales and legends evolve around the bravery and valor of these women. How deep and mysterious is their spiritual world! Oftentimes, their exotic and divine presence it is sufficient.
Traveling back in time, I imagine the Illyrian Queen Teuta, princess Donika, Rozafa, Argjiro, Doruntina, Shote Galica, Urani Rumbo, Mother Teresa and many Albanian women, including all mothers who have been and are the embodiment of love and sacrifice.
Inspired by these remarkable paintings, I contacted Saranda to learn more about her passion in art. Saranda as beautiful as her name ( Saranda is the name of one of the most beautiful cities in South Albania), presents her talent and her exquisite works on several social networks. She focuses more on portraits of women, children and national heroes or important historical figures.
Saranda was born and raised in Vitia, Kosovo ( East Europe). She graduated from the High School of Mathematics and Informatics in her hometown, and later studied at the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Prishtina for painting.
Saranda is a beautiful Albanian ( shqiptare) girl, a modest artist with a rich spiritual world who with her talent and these gems have touched many of her followers including myself. Saranda shares with us her thoughts and opinions on art and messages for art lovers and Albanian women.
How your art influences and affects the life of others?
Saranda: Art is my life; my art reflects the world I perceive and all the things that affect the way I am. My paintings have personal meanings, I express myself figuratively, exploring different images, colors, techniques and lines, therefore the reflection of the real world through art and its perception by people I think has a direct impact on everyone’s life.
When was your first contact with art and what inspired you?
Saranda: I have always loved art, but when I started my studies and during the time in university I focused more and more on art in its content and message. Learning daily made me more passionate about painting and art in general. When I do not paint, I feel less in touch with myself, so I paint to feel one with my inner self.
What was your first drawing?
Saranda: I have always been attracted to portraits, and in most of the drawings I have made are mainly portraits of my family.
What attracts you the most that affects your artwork?
Saranda: I like figurative art, especially the portraits, mostly women, various heroes and portraits of children.
What are your goals in the painting career?
Saranda: I think the best way to plan is to get the most out of the present.
Do you have any other passions?
Saranda: Art fulfills me a lot and most of the time I paint, and the rest of the time I spend researching about art and reading books.
What message do you convey to the public with your eye’s portraits ?
Saranda: The idea for the Albanian woman started naturally with my photo in national
( traditional) dress, then I wanted to develop it as a concept where through them I can incorporate our art, culture, values, tradition and history of Albanian women which although with eyes closed, they speak and convey messages and thus representing their power.
What message do you have for Albanian women around the world?
Saranda: All Albanian women, wherever they are, must be their true and genuine selves. Always carry positive messages for their family and their country as well as focus on personal and professional growth for their freedom and independence.
We are proud of women like Saranda who with her talent and art brings originality, positivity and an inspiration to all Albanian women, especially to Albanian women and girls in Diaspora.
Saranda, we wish you best of luck on your endeavors and thank you for keeping these national treasures alive ❤️