Crimson and violet cliffs stretched under saturated sunsets. Gnarled sagebrush and cacti sprawled along high desert plains.
And deep crevices burrowed in the sandstone formations — the iconic natural environment of New Mexico — set the stage for Albanian Artist Saranda Kalaveshi’s raw acrylic painting of her past and present self, which she called “Healing.”
This piece that was once crafted during quarantine while living in New Mexico is the same composition that now hangs in her new art gallery she co-owns with her mother and sister in Avon.
“A lot of what I was going through during my time in New Mexico and quarantine is what inspired me to put these images on the canvases,” said self-taught artist Kalaveshi, co-owner of Kalaveshi Arts. “In this first exhibition, many people will not only see the visuals of the Southwest but also see what we went through and who we are.”
Originally from Kosovo, a small country in southeast Europe, Kalaveshi moved to the United States in 2010 and settled in New Mexico, and was then joined by her mother Drita Choy a couple of years later and her sister, Njomza, a decade later. Eventually, all of the women found themselves moving to Connecticut and opening up Kalaveshi Arts earlier this month, which is a space for them to work on their art, be together as a family and reveal their personal journeys as artists to the public.
“For me, my work was originally something that had no intention of being seen by others or being sold,” she said. “Many of these pieces, especially my more personal work, came out of necessity. I just had to do it now. I had to do it at that moment.”