Arben Bajo: The Sculptor Who Breathes Life into His Creations - Into Albania

Arben Bajo: The Sculptor Who Breathes Life into His Creations

IntoAlbania visits the studio of one of the most talented contemporary sculptors in the country.

Albania has a disproportionate number of talented sculptors for its relatively small size. Though always present, the art of sculpture reached new heights during the socialist realism movement in Albania. Since then, this tradition has not only been preserved but has continued flourishing throughout the decades to still represent one of the most developed and rich artforms in the country.

Arben Bajo is one of the sculptors who is responsible for this continued progress in the field of sculpture. One of the most prolific contemporary sculptors in the country, Bajo began his career toward the end of the 1980s. With a style that was truly audacious and avant-garde for the time, he succeeded in carving a permanent place in the history books of Albanian artists.

It was Bajo’s extensive experience that made him the natural choice for the realization of the popular sculpture of the well-loved Vaçe Zela. His singular style led to an uncanny likeness of the singer and managed to evoke her larger-than-life spirit. Bajo presented her in her most iconic stance: sitting on her stool while strumming her famous acoustic guitar

Vaçe Zela sclupture realized by Arben Bajo. Source: Bashkia Lushnje

Bajo has created beautiful sculptures of countless other Albanian personalities, as well, from all spheres and walks of life. These include those of Father Zef Pllumi in Shëngjin, Asim Zeneli in Gjirokastra, and Lef Noci in Elbasan, among many others. Bajo focuses on researching the personality as much as possible before committing to the sculpture. He finds that the more he knows about the person, the more this knowledge will be reflected in the final object. This dedication is why Bajo’s sculptures are so full of life

Known largely as a sculptor of the human figure, Bajo is also famous for his contemporary style. He counts a total of nine personal exhibits and dozens of other collaborations. What is immediately noticeable in his works is his focus on the human aspect, beautifully conveyed in both its vulnerable and resilient sides.

In his studio, surrounded by the many busts, female nudes and mythological figures, it is not difficult to pinpoint the talented sculptor’s favorite genres. The pieces seem so alive that one can almost imagine them talking.  

On the shelves, one can see the busts of many Albanian artists, including Gazmend Leka, Dhimitër Anagnosti, Timo Flloko, Muharrem Fejzo, and Orion Shima, among others. 

Presently, Arben is working on the last works of a new exhibition. He explains that while the exhibition does not yet have a set title, it will focus on the idea of the individual’s journey and will center on mythological characters. 

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