Pubblicato il 13/09/17e aggiornato il

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Alush Shima, 1942 | Colorist / Fauvist / Symbolist painter




Small Territories of Freedom under communism



Alush Shima was born in Tirana, Albania. He painted in secret under Albania’s communist regime for almost two decades, being a former Parliament member. Alush Shima’s most perilous moment was in 1973, when the Sigurimi secret police seized his closest friend, fellow artist Ali Oseku, for letting slip praise of such bourgeois painters as Picasso and Matisse. He worked as a set painter in Albania’s only film studio, Kinostudio.


Alush Shima has always been a realistic painter, but for a time he made paintings of modern criticism of the regime. Today he doesn’t make modern works, but landscapes and still life.




  • 1949 Encouraged by his father to take up painting.
  • 1960 Finishes School of Fine Arts in Tirana.
  • 1965 Graduates from the Tirana Art Academy but is uninspired by the official art movement of Socialist Realism.
  • 1966 Becomes a set painter for the Albanian Film Studio and nourishes a passion for bright colors and simple forms.
  • 1973 Burns over 150 works (considered "decadent") after secret police arrest his closest friend, artist Ali Oseku.
  • 1974 For the next fifteen years, Shima is forced to paint in secret. Painting on cardboard, wood and even stretched sugar sacks, he hides his vibrant still lifes and landscapes in the attic.
  • 1990 Democratic changes allow Shima to open his first exhibitions in Albania and Greece. He is viewed by many as a hero.
  • 1992 Sell-out exhibition at the Roy Miles Gallery in London; Art critic Daniel Farson of the Daily Mail calls Shima "a superb Colourist. . . who had endured. . .a persecution we cannot imagine".
  • 1993 Spring- Group exhibition; Palm Beach, Florida. / Summer- Personal exhibition; Saanenmoser, Switzerland. / Winter- Personal exhibition; Gstaad, Switzerland.
  • 1994 Shima is appointed Director of Albania's National Art Museum. / Summer- Sell-out exhibition, Greece. / December-Personal exhibition; Gstaad, Switzerland.
  • 1995 Former US President George Bush visits Shima at his studio and calls him a "great artist". / Spring- Artist wins award* at Malta Biennial Art Festival. / Summer- Group exhibition; Soho, New York.;
  • 1996 February- Personal exhibition; Gstaad, Switzerland. / June- Shima is elected to the Albanian parliament. / Summer- Group exhibition; Chicago, Illinois.
  • 1997 February- Shima resigns from the parliament to focus solely on his painting. / December- Personal exhibition; "Triumph of Color" -Gstaad, Switzerland.
  • 1998 Fall- Personal exhibition; Chicago, Illinois. / Winter- Personal exhibition, New Jersey. 
  • 1999 Nominated MAN OF THE YEAR by American Biographical Institute. / August- Personal exhibition; Chicago, Illinois.















































































































Il pittore Albanese Alush Shima è nato a Tirana.
Dipinge per decine d'anni di nascosto perche' si allontana dal realismo socialista, arte ufficiale, a favore di un percoso modernista occidentale. contrariamente ad altri artisti suoi coetanei, egli si salva dalla prigionia perche' scenografo presso lo studio cinematografico di Tirana, Kinostudio.
Quando le autorita' gli chiedevano perche' non espone piu' le sue opere nelle rassegne di stato, lui risponde che non puo' dipingere in quanto assorbito troppo dal lavoro cinematografico; in realta' dipinge di notte in gran segreto.
Il momento più pericoloso per Alush Shima è stato nel 1973, quando la polizia segreta di Sigurimi arresto' il suo amico più vicino, l'artista Ali Oseku, per lodato i pittori "borghesi" come Picasso e Matisse. Imediatamente Shima brucia circa 150 tele dei suoi lavori.
Alush Shima è sempre stato un pittore realistico, ma per un certo periodo ha fatto dipinti di critiche moderne del regime. Oggi non fa opere moderne, ma paesaggi e vita ancora.



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