Made in Albania: carnival masks that journey the world

In a quiet studio in northern Albania, artists delicately paint, gild and bejewel tens of hundreds of Venetian masks that revellers around the globe have been donning for carnival season.

Some 50 employees handcraft the one-of-a-kind items from their manufacturing unit in lakeside Shkoder, which exports as much as 30,000 masks across the globe yearly.

“At first each (masks) is a thriller, it’s important to be affected person to do it, however you’ll be able to’t wait to see the ultimate product,” defined Nora Gjonaj, a 41-year-old artist who has been working in Albania’s Venice Artwork Masks Manufacturing unit for 20 years.

The masks vary from comparatively easy eye-coverings to towering, ornate head items, with prices working from 20 euros to 1,500 euros (RM92 to RM6,900) within the showroom subsequent door.

Whereas a lot of the masks are destined for the Venice market – whose carnival was all of the sudden cancelled this yr amid a coronavirus outbreak – others are shipped off to some 40 different international locations, together with France, the US, Britain and Australia.

The corporate additionally will get orders year-round from these attending masquerade balls, in addition to filmmakers and theatre producers searching for costumes.

Some 50 staff handcraft the one-of-a-kind pieces from their factory in lakeside Shkoder, which exports up to 30,000 masks around the globe every year. Photo: AFPSome 50 employees handcraft the one-of-a-kind items from their manufacturing unit in lakeside Shkoder, which exports as much as 30,000 masks across the globe yearly. Photograph: AFP

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise, for instance, famously wore two of the studio’s masks within the 1999 Stanley Kubrick movie Eyes Extensive Shut.

The studio was based in 1997 by Edmond Angoni, a 64-year-old Albanian who labored in Italy earlier than returning residence to open his personal store.

“Every masks has its personal magnificence, magic and thriller,” stated.

The artists begin by constructing a clay mould which they fill with plaster to create the bottom of the masks. That piece is then smoothed over with paper mache.

A sequence of different meticulous steps observe, which Angoni says set his items aside from their mass-produced counterparts.

“We put plenty of emphasis on the inventive facet of the masks, treating them with ardour and love like artworks,” he stated.

The masks showroom can be turning into a attraction of its personal for vacationers who can peruse the dizzying show of faces, together with luxurious masks adorned with silver and gold leaf, feathers, diamonds and pearls.

guests should buy a masks – or just don one of many disguises for the three-euro entrance charge.- AFP

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