Even Walls Have Ears 

Even Walls Have Ears, 2018, Public Art Installation, Tirana, Albania 

From May 8th until the dawn of May 9th, public buildings in the main squares of six cities Tirana, Shkodra, Berat, Korça, Tepelena and Gjirokastra, were lit up with testimonies and quotes of the survivors of the past communist crimes in Albania.  This was done through an art installation called “Even Walls have ears”.

The installation is a multi-dimensional creation of the artist Alketa Xhafa-Mripa, a collective memory for those who were prosecuted, lost their freedom or lives in communist dictatorship prisons and camps.

The artist Alketa Xhafa says: ”The title of the installation derives from a proverb used by Albanians during the years of communist rule in Albania. The meaning was clear—don’t speak out, don’t even voice the truth. You never know when an agent of the state or an informer is listening. My project is a public engagement art piece, which seeks to promote freedom of speech throughout Albania, as a means of beginning a larger dialogue about a period that remains strangely understated and not much talked about”.

Survivors, their families, youth, students, representatives of diplomatic corps, public and nongovernmental institutions of art, culture and media poured in the main squares of these cities to attend the art installation projection and watch once-forbidden quotes of those who suffered from the communist regime in Albania.

"Even walls have ears" culminates with the artistic installation and follows with a collection of personal stories of survivors of dictatorship or their families. These testimonies will be available on a website with same name. Furthermore, the testimonies will be filmed in the documentary so that people can follow the creation of this artistic product, and listen to the stories of those who endured dictatorship oppression and suffering with dignity.

Ms. Gentiana Sula, Head of the Authority on Access to Information on the Former State Security Service (the Authority) states that: “Through art, the project aims to familiarize and raise awareness among young people, communities and the public, with the legacy of the past".

The quotes that describe the human tragedy caused by communist dictatorship crimes are extracted from manuscripts, records, personal archives of detained or exiled individuals and the testimonies of survivors.

This activity of the communication campaign “Even walls have ears”, is part of the “Remembrance to Heal and Prevent” project. The project supports  the work of the Authority on Access to Information on the Former State Security Service (the Authority) to inform the Albanian public on communist crimes and promote  democratic values of justice, truth and reconciliation. The project is supported by UNDP  and the Government of Italy.

The projection of the installation is also supported by the European Union Delegation in Albania, U.S Embassy in Albania and Municipality of Tirana.