Denis Hyka and Violana Murataj

Denis Hyka and Violana Murataj Stills from Finding Grandma’s Garden 2007_02

Denis Hyka and Violana Murataj
Stills from Finding Grandma’s Garden 2007
Two-screen film and book. Mini DV, transferred to DVD
Filmed by Violana Murataj & Breda Beban
Edited by Maverick Litchfield Kelly
© the artist

Denis Hyka

Born 1976, Albania, lives and works in London

Based in London since 1997, Denis Hyka has not been back to Albania. His drawings range from romantic portrayals of sensual love to the streetscapes of his youth in Tirana. Dreamlike in quality and rich in detail, they capture the urgency to record fleeting moments with a passionate yet determined brushstroke. Hyka’s drawings are small in scale on surfaces that range from notebooks to napkins.

Violana Murataj

Born 1984, Albania, lives and works in Tirana

Violana Murataj’s videos and photographs are understated explorations of the shifting value system of the society she grew up in. The armed revolt of 1998, which she experienced as a teenager, separated her youth under communism from her contemporary life. An acute awareness of the undercurrent of history within the present moment marks her work as she journeys through Tirana.

Finding Grandma’s Garden 2007
Two-screen film and a book

Finding Grandma’s Garden is a collaborative work, by Hyka who left Tirana, and Murataj who stayed in the city. Performing a piece of detective work both on the city itself and Hyka’s emotions, the project explores the archaeology of memory and the social and psychological impact of the movement of people. The film juxtaposes Murataj’s journey to locate Hyka’s grandmother’s garden with a landscape of Hyka’s emotions revealed through a fixed frame close-up on his face as he watches Murataj’s film (Hyka’s grandmother passed away last year). The book features Hyka’s drawings and Murataj’s photographs, accompanied by personal stories in English and Albanian.