[dreamINTERVIEW#14] Nikolli, 41, Nice “My dream is to live free”

“My dream is to live free”

Dreamer: Nikolli , 41, Albanian, Painter

Date: 12 June 2011

Location: Nice, France

One of my most favorite parts of Nice was those nostalgic narrow streets in old town of Nice (Vieux-Nice).  The views of children playing football, old people smoking cigars and musicians play songs around the corner were somewhat in perfect harmony that I felt like I was watching a part of  sophisticated old French movie.

These streets are usually painted in light  yellow with some red flowers presented outside windows but there is one exception that is full of colour and expression: Rue Rosetti.  That’s where I met Nikolli, the painter who fills the street with his colourful abstract paintings. He showed me his tiny atelier, which rather looks like storage already full of his paintings. So he puts his paintings outside the workshop. Rue Rosetti is his gallery and any passer-by are his audiences/customers. His art works have been so important component of Rue Rosetti that when he comes back from short trips, the neighbours ask him “Where have you been? the street lost colours!”

He distinguish himself from other artists who sell paintings for tourists by his passion for abstract and expressive paintings. (Most of artists on the street of Nice mainly focus on visualizing the landscape of Nice.  Of course, passion is not the only thing that makes him a true artist but also his talent. A number of his paintings have been sold at  collectors’ auctions and exhibited in galleries around the world.  He was also listed as one of best painters of Cote-d’Azur school (L’ecole de Nice).

His dream is to live free. “No system, no politics” he added. I was little bit puzzled, he looks like he’s living life of freedom already.
Growing up in Albania, he experienced communism, economic crisis and Kosovo war. Under dictatorship, one’s artist expression was controlled by the government. He witnessed his artist father – famous sculptor Marc Nikolli- throwing his own creations to avoid imprisonment.

Over 800,000 people left Albania since the collapse of communist regime and he was one of them. He first arrived Greece without the official permit for exile, then managed to move to Italy. He eventually made Nice home over 5 years. But it doesn’t mean that he’s completely free. Nikolli also struggles sometimes when the government officials keep him from exhibiting his own works on the street. No wonder he doesn’t like any system or politics.

Come visit his website – where he  freely exhibits his paintings as well as short films he created.

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One Comment to “[dreamINTERVIEW#14] Nikolli, 41, Nice “My dream is to live free””

  1. You were my doctor!

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