Helidon Gjergji

gjergjih's picture

Job title: 

Assistant Professor






Campus Center



Office hours: 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:20 to 12:50 PM and 7:00 to 7:30 PM

Courses taught: 

  • At the university-level, Helidon has taught Art Tutorials, Drawing, Painting, Painting Beyond the Medium, 2-D Design, 3-D Design, Sculpture, Digital Imaging, Creative Thinking, Multicultural Art Projects for Teachers, Art Appreciation, Introduction to Art, Art History, and History of Photography.


  • Helidon holds university degrees in art from three different countries. He received his BA in Graphic Arts from The University of the Arts in Tirana, Albania; a European MFA in Painting and Drawing from the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, Italy; and a North American MFA in Art Theory and Practice from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
  • Helidon is fluent in three languages: English, Albanian and Italian.

Research interests: 

  • Exhibitions: Over the course of his extensive career as a visual artist, Helidon has worked in a variety of mediums, from painting to media installation and urban art interventions. Among other national and international venues he has exhibited at Venice Biennale of Art, Venice Biennale of Architecture, Manifesta, Tirana Biennale, The Festival of Ideas of New Museum in NYC, Project Biennial in Bosnia & Herzegovina, ReMap Biennial in Athens, Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Apexart in NYC, Pino Pascali Museum in Italy, Botkyrka Konsthall in Sweden, Chelsea Art Museum in NYC, Lothringer 13 Kunsthall in Munich, American Academy in Rome, as well as the National Galleries or Museums of Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, and Malta. 
  • Public Art: .Among these works have been a number of larger scale paintings, some using traditional and other less conventional techniques. For Tirana Biennale 4, for example, I painted a traditional mural for the artistic makeover of a monumental building in Tirana for the Façades Project initiated by the artist and former Mayor of the City, Edi Rama. Given the great success of the Façades Project, this same work was later presented in the Albanian Pavilion of The Venice Biennale of Architecture 12, The Festival of Ideas (organized by the New Museum).
  • Curating: Mobilnale 2, FAP Gallery at the University of the Arts in Tirana, Albania (student exhibition). TBA Exhibition Space. The First Parking Lot Biennale, site-specific. 
  • Art Festivals: Helidon has organized several exhibitions, among which Tirana Open, an international contemporary arts festival of the visual arts, film, architecture, music, and literature, where he was the Artistic Director. Tirana Open 1 collaborated with major museums, galleries and artists, such as Moderna Museet, Sweeden; State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessalonik, Greece; Marina Abramovic Institute, NY; Fondazione Sandretto, Re Rebaudengo, Torino, Italy; MAXXI, Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI secolo, Rome, Italy; T.I.C.A. Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art, Albania; National Gallery of Tirana, Albania; Museo Pascali, Italy; Stacion Center for Contemporary Art, Prishtina, Kosovo; MAM Foundation, Tirana, Albania; Fondazione Pistoletto, Italy; Tirana Art Lab, Albania; Kunsthalle Athena, Greece; Galerija Zeta, Tirana, Albania; Galerija FAB, Tirana, Albania; Gagosian Gallery, NYC/London/etc.; T293 Gallery, Italy. Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin, Germany; Blain Southern Gallery, Berlin/London; Houser & Wirth Gallery, NYC/Zurich/etc. Some of the artists shown there were William Kentridge, Anri Sala etc.
  • Grants and Fellowships: Helidon’s artistic work has been supported by the following grants and fellowships: Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant, SUNY OW Professional Development Award, Experimental Television Center Grants, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (twice), City of Chicago, Department of Cultural Affairs, Project Grant, Soros Foundation, Project Grant for Tirana Biennale, Project Grant at Northwestern University, two year Teaching Fellowship at Northwestern University, Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Filosofici, Art History Seminar Fellow, Naples, Italy. 
  • Other Awards: Beyond his many professional recognitions, Helidon is the recipient of a Golden Medal of Honor from the President of the Republic of Albania, for his service to his country as a student dissident under Communism, whose participation in student protests and, then, a hunger strike galvanized the popular rebellion against the Communist regime which not only brought its downfall but also ushered in democracy in 1991.
  • Jury & Selection Committees: TICA – Ardhje Prize, SUNY – OW - Mac Awards.
  • Other interests and forms of service: environmental activism, community gardens, and social justice activism.

Select publications & presentations: 

  • Press and Electronic Media: His work has been reviewed and featured in influential international art magazines, such as Artforum, Mousse Magazine, Sculpture, Contemporary, Flash Art, Artribune, Exibart, New Art Examiner, Swedish Public Radio, Malta Public TV, Reuters, etc. Another Artforum review will be published in the October Issue of Artforum – keep an eye open for it.
  • Publications: Se il Primo Segretario Del Partito Fosse Stato Un Faraone... (Hylli i Drites, 1997).
  • Presentations: Helidon has lectured about his work in prominent institutions, such as Harvard University, Teachers College at Columbia University, Northwestern University, The American Academy in Rome, C Festival in Italy, Université du Québec, American University in Dubai, St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity (Valletta), Demanio Marittimo.Km-278 (Italy), etc.