by Shpend Bengu (

Unfortunately there is no comics tradition in Albania, nor are any being published today. For about half century Pop Art was prohibited by the dictatorial regime. But this is a long story…

The Albanian language doesn't have a word or a concept to describe comics.

In the 1996 when I was professor and dean at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana, I drafted an art program aimed at including courses in comic art to the Academy. But in March of 1997 my office was destroyed... and all the programs and other documents were stolen. After this I gave in my resignation from the Academy and the students remain misinformed and ignorant about comic art. The consequences for me included losing my studio, the right to exhibit my works etc...

 If you’ve read my comic "The Cage" – in it I tried to describe the situation of the free intellectuals in my country. The idea of "The Cage" was that nothing can change if you have zeros all around. Now we are about to have elections in Albania (I haven’t participated in my countries elections since 1991). I have sent my comics in some Albanian magazines, but they refused to publish them because of the elections. I have been working as a free artist in this country since 1997. For me, making comics is a pleasure - nobody could earn enough to survive in Albania just by making comics. If you want to know more about the situation of comics in Albania, this is the e-mail of the Department of Culture in the Albanian Ministry of Culture