The monumental Lapidari of the Communist period (1945-1991) are silent symbols of a hated past. Executed in Brutalist concrete they praise the “heroes of the nation.” Their real function was to cement and stamp communist ideology across Albania, the marks of a regime described as more repressive than Stalin.
If heritage is the “storehouse of human experience,” the Lapidari are a painful reminder of a defunct ideology. The regime’s collapse in 1991 led to psychological relief and the dismantling of statues and monuments in the cities. The Lapidari, both ambiguous and remote, were ignored and today sit crumbling in the landscape.
The wish to sever from a difficult past led to adopted amnesia. But the Lapidars are forgotten symbols of personal and collective identity and memory. Should they be preserved? Can they be integrated into Albania’s present?
In an exciting 2014 project, the ‘Albanian Lapidar Survey’ is researching, photographing and geo-tagging each one.
The “Albanian Lapidar Survey”
A short film “Lapidari” by the Albanian Kinostudio: