After it was launched on October 14, 2022, during the Brașov International Historical Comics Festival, the international exhibition “CAN for Balkans” was toured in Albania.

In Tirana, the host of the exhibition is the National Museum of History of Albania (Historik Kombetar Museum), one of the partners of the European project “CAN for Balkans – Comics Alliance Networking”, winning project in 2020 of the call Strengthening cultural cooperation and competitiveness of cultural industries and creatives in the Western Balkans, funded by the Executive Agency for Education, Audiovisual and Culture (EACEA) in Brussels, within the Creative Europe Funding Programme. The other partners of the European project are the Brașov County Museum of History (project leader), the Brussels Comic Art Museum, the “Nikola Mitrovic Kokan” Comics School Leskovac (Serbia), the Macedonian Comic Strip Center (North Macedonia).

Symbolically, the opening in Tirana took place on November 18, 2022, the day after the celebration of the National Liberation of Albania from fascism. The event was attended by artists, teachers and students of the University of Arts in Tirana, representatives of the project’s partners.

The program of the opening event of the “CAN for Balkans” exhibition in Tirana also included a debate where Nicolae Pepene, the manager of the Brașov County History Museum, and the manager of the European project, Dorian Koci, the director of the National History Museum of Albania, Prof. Univ. . Ardian Isufi (Tirana University of Arts), Marko Stojanović, director of the Balkan Festival of Young Comic Creators Leskovac, Vane Trajkov, director of the Macedonian Comics Center, Manuel Fernández Vázquez, IT & Multimedia manager of the Brussels Comic Art Museum, the artists Albanians Helidon Haliti, Florian Bregu and David Kryemadhi.

Organized by the project leader, the Brașov County Museum of History, the exhibition presents the scientific research and creativity of the “CAN for Balkans – Comics Alliance Networking” project.

The star is the symbol that inspired the design of the exhibition created by curator Nicolae Pepene. “Red Star” is about the past of historical comics from the Balkans, with a focus on the clichés and stereotypes used by comic book authors for the Balkan world. The “Yellow Star” section, whose design was inspired by the flag of the European Union, comprises the contemporary artistic perspective on the Balkans in history in the form of 64 original comics made by 67 artists, of which 27 artists from eight countries were selected in the international competition of the European project, organized between March and July 2022.


The researchers of the “CAN for Balkans” teams are Dodo Niță and Nicolae Pepene (Romania), Oltsen Gripshi (Albania), Michel De Dobbeleer (Belgium), Aleksandar Stevanov (North Macedonia), Slobodan Ivkov and Marko Stojanović (Serbia). The members of the jury of the European contest were Prof. Univ. Adrian Cioroianu (Romania), historian, diplomat, author of BD scenarios, university professor. Ardian Isufi (Albania), artist, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts of Tirana University of Arts during 2016-2020, Etienne Schréder (Belgium), well-known scriptwriter and BD author, Drazen Kovacevic, one of the most important BD artists in Serbia and Tome Trajkov, comic book promoter from North Macedonia. The winner of the grand prize was the Romanian artist Răzvan Bronescu with the cartoon “Aurel Petrescu, the Pioneer of Romanian Animation”. The opening in Tirana was attended by Ionuț Popescu, winner of first place with the comic strip “Balkans Forever”, and Kosta Milovanović, winner of second place with the comic strip “And The Three Friends Are…”


The “CAN for Balkans” exhibition will subsequently tour in Brussels, between December 21, 2022 and January 6, 2023, in Leskovac (Serbia) in February 2023 and in Veles (North Macedonia) in March 2023.

Bogdan-Florin Popovici, head of the Brașov Service of the National Archives of Romania, was also invited to the event in Tirana, his presence being linked to the agenda of joint activities that the National History Museum of Albania and the Brașov County History Museum are preparing for the year future.

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