Edi Rama, former Mayor of the city of Tirana, is known in the arts field in relation to the Tirana Biennial.
The Tirana Biennial became famous internationally for the project of the painting of the facades, initiated by Edi Rama, a former painter and artist, who decided upon being elected, to start a process of revitalization of all former socialist living blocks and housing complexes, whose facades had been worn out and damaged, creating a very unpleasant feeling in the city, associated with decay.
Later on, in the year 2003, during the second edition of Tirana Biennial, the invited curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and artist Anri Sala decided to contribute to the biennial by continuing the “façade project” by inviting a number of internationally acclaimed artists to design a number of facades in the city. As a result, proposals by the following artists: Olafur Eliasson, Dominique Gonzalez Foerster, Liam Gillick and Rirkrit Tiravanija, were realized in some of the facades. After that experience, the Town Hall of Tirana continued to invite architects and architecture studios that participated in many of the international competitions for the development of the city, to deliver proposals for the continuation of the painting of the facades, only and exclusively of former socialist housing blocks.
The Tirana Biennial has continued this endeavor by inviting outstanding artists to design new facades in the city of Tirana, in collaboration with the Town Hall. The artists are inspired in different ways, but most of them have asked for historic and circumstantial background of all facades assigned to them, in order to develop a contextualized proposal.
T.I.C.A.B – Tirana International Contemporary Art Biannual, directed by Edi Muka and Joa Ljungberg, is the largest international art event of Albania, working with contemporary art as a tool to analyse the contemporary condition and as a critical voice in the social discourse.