Art came first for Albanian artist, Edi Rama. Growing up in Albania during the communist regime of Enver Hoxha, Rama moved to Paris to continue working artistically. Upon his return, he served as the Albanian minister of culture for two years to then become the mayor of Tirana for a decade. During his time serving as mayor, Rama famously painted the town's facades with bright colors and patterns, showcasing his belief in the artistic power of aesthetics. As Rama continued upwards through the political spectrum of Albania, his art never became an aside of his occupational duties, but merely became a addition to his everyday process.
In his most recent exhibition at Marion Goodman Gallery, which also happened to be his first solo show in the United States, Rama states that his bold, abstract drawings on memos, schedules, and other office paperwork allowed him to enter into a meditative state of clarity. At first glance, an elaborate doodle, Rama's work leans more towards a visualization of this meditative state, an autonomous stream of consciousness. One in which, Rama claims that, "I began to understand that my subconscious was being helped or fed by my hand to stay calm while my conscious had to focus on demanding topics and help me avoid mistakes of misjudgement through shallow concentration". Not considering that he was making artwork versus plainly expressing himself as necessity, his pieces become documentation for the challenging tasks he must perform as the prime minister of one of Europe's poorest countries.
As Rama's art is a product of his political work, he decided to later extend his pieces, ultimately making wallpaper for his office. Not only an artistic statement, Rama finds that the office produces a shock value for visitors who enter. As an obvious proponent of the arts within all spaces of society, Rama continues to practice his meditative drawing, resulting in beautiful spasms of color and shape.