I was born on April 29th, 1959, in Albania, the youngest of a large, cheerful and very loving family. I grew up in the small town of Blinisht which was surrounded by tall towering mountains and the fields everywhere were covered in flowers and many varieties of birds hovered over-head. An equal variety of small animals lived out their short lives in the fields and woods. Very rarely an aeroplane circled in the limited space of the sky, a solitary visitor from the distant modern world. Glorying in the magnificent sunsets from this patch of untouched country. I made so bold as to send notes by way of the sun to the far distant civilised? or was it? country out there. At night, when the sky was giddy with stars, I stepped along the moon beams to another on the moon beams to another civilisation on the moon's disc. A few words taken from my surroundings and from a handful of books unlocked my ardent imagaination: clouds and fields and stars, the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo, eagles, Leonardo, poor blind Homer, Christ and the Virgin. I dreamt of them all until punctually the crazed roosters woke me up. And so in this garden of Eden I spent my childhood and from which all my later fantasies were to spring. At fourteen I left my Eden and entered the twisted paths of the world of art: to be exact, I went to the Migh School of Art in Tirana and after that continued at the Academy of Fine Art from 1981 to 1985. By a stroke of great good fortune, I then found myself in the only studio of cartoons in Tirana. My delight in the fabulous, where everything is possible, undoubtedly originated in my childhood fantasies and dreams. The moon shed its gentle beams and could climb up and up, toy with stars and win a prize the rhird prize at the 1990 National Festival at Tirana. I then voyaged in the wonders of the cinema and took part in the International film Festival of cartoons in Annessy, France, which took place in June, 1991. Yes, I actually rubbed shoulders with the great Bak and the equally great Busseto...

A tempestuous political scene: East-West, communism, a crisis, no budget, hunger, chaos, violence, battered down walls, crazy leaves, blood. The trembling stars disappear, the moon melts into the sky, dreams freeze over. Shut away in my studio, I painted and painted for almost seven months, preparing for a show in Tirana in the National Gallery. That was in 1992. One afternoon, with a few tubes of paint and two or three paintbrushes in my pockets, I hung on to a dying ray of the sun and began the much longed for journey East, longed for, but unpredicted. My magic carpet fleated all over the wonders of Europe. I stopped while in Paris to toast my friend Van Gogh . Then on to Rome to see the Colisseum and us heartless shows enjoy a lavish meal Roman style, I travelled on to visit the most beautiful fairytale setting in the world, to see for myself a city gliding on the sea. An extraordinary creation, the earth and the sky clasping each ather in a melting embrace and joining them endless notes flying up and down, trilling all the music of all the nations of the world from gondolas. I tossed aside my magic carpet and travelle respectably to Florence. Man is not made for a too lengthy stay in heaven, in the end, one must come back to earth, But what extraordinary luck if the eart happens to be Florence. The Florentines say it is "la più bella città del mondo" and they might very well be right, the most beautiful city in the world. I find Leonardo building an aeroplane out of the Mona Lisa's old clotheres, and it looked like a gigantic bat. He complained a great deal about Michelangelo and his eternal messes with blocks of stone. I snied Botticelli, surround ed by beautiful naked women, painting the Seasons. And there was Dante kissing Beatrice, on the old bridge. Near him waited an eagle ready to take his messages to ...... ? heaven? or to hell? Christopher Columbus was sailing up and down the Arno scrutinising a compass. And where, pray, was he off to? Perched on a gigantic dome was Bruneleschi, gazing bored the clouds. Finally I discovered another wonder in Florence: the square of Santa Croce, that had already sent setendhal into mad raptures, and her was Giotto painting frescoes in front of admiring tourists flashing their cameras at him and asking the silly "how much"? Enchanted by the beauty of Florence I plonked down my luggage, set up my easel, and painted. I have had many shows in Florence, Borgo Pinti, via Alfani, piazza Libertà.........
The tourists draw near and exclaim: "How much? how much? Beautiful". Only Giotto remains and then he goes off centuries away. In the frozen artistic air of Florence I hope, I long to leave some marks behind me. If you would like to know more about me, you can read the Italian newspaper "Soprattutto", the Chicago Tribune in the States, Shekuli in Albania or in the Cinema Anesy in France. Should you like to chat with me, come to Florence and we will have a coffee together, a cappuccino, and an ice-cream or else a glass of good wine right here in the Piazza Santa Croce.

All the best from Florence,

Xhovalin Delia