Upon entering Mira Kuçuku’s exquisite gallery “Albqeramik” on Bulevardi Zhan D’Ark near the center of Albania’s capital, Tirana, it’s as if you’re suddenly transported to New York’s Park Avenue or Boston’s Newbury Street. Indeed, her gallery would fit in perfectly anywhere on those two elegant confluences of American haute culture. Its contemporary appearance and subtle decor provide an enchanting backdrop for the display of ceramic potteries and sculptures that Mira has hand-fashioned to tantalize both the eye and taste of the most discerning art critic and buyer. The gallery is divided into two rooms, the larger one as you enter where most of her works are on display, and then a smaller one just behind it which serves mainly as storage and some display of finished pieces.
Mira, a dark-haired attractive woman with bright eyes and a quick smile, is serious about her craftsmanship as she points out and describes features on several of her hand-made creations. Her work, encompassing a variety of sizes and shapes ranging from smaller, decorated potteries, plates, and sculptures to impressively-large, floor-standing vases, are distinguished by intricate appliques set off by warm, earth-colored glazes that are oven-fired to last for an eternity. She maintains a rigid work schedule to replenish the stock of the gallery and to fill especially commissioned projects and orders.
A prolific artist (no two pieces of Mira’s art are exactly alike), she keeps exploring new themes by frequently reaching back into her Albanian roots and culture. The ever-changing four seasons of the year are of great interest to her, and one of Mira’s favorite subjects is her young daughter, Bora, whose visage is rendered either in full-face or profile on various pieces as the perfect motif for Spring (Pranvera). A graduate of the Academy of the Figurative Arts in Tirana, Mira was employed for 17 years as a Modeling Sculptor at the Migjeni Arts facility until she established her own gallery/studio in 1993. Her ceramics are considered first-rank, and, unquestionably, they deserve to be exhibited at art and cultural centers in the USA and elsewhere.
With the advent of democracy in Albania in 1991 and the long-awaited freedom of artistic expression, Mira Kuçuku is already making her mark in several countries of Europe such as Denmark, Greece, and Croatia where her ceramic exhibitions garnered rave notices.
Excerpted from an article in LIRIA by Van Christo, October/November, 1995