Mustafa Lamaj

a few words about ...

I was born under the rule of the most despotic and grotesque Communist regime Eastern Europe ever produced. A place where the state decided what was art, where it could be exhibited and how an individual expressed one's self. After fleeing my native home in Albania for both the personal and artistic freedoms afforded by Italy in 1991, I worked as a freelance artist until reaching American shores in 1998. Arriving, I started exploring my paintings further than before finding new themes in my art reflective of the political and artistic dichotomy that endured throughout my life. My creative process goes through intuitive responses that evolve from the act of doing, not planning, while engaged with the work. The process is completely organic and spontaneous. What emerges on the canvas is an internal language that is highly emotional and personal, yet universal. Even though I start out in the traditional way I intend to extend my vocabulary of forms searching for structure, space, color relationship, surface tension and mood. I use a palette that is more widely ranging and subtle in a very painterly tradition, painting wet on wet or scraping it away. It isn't always pleasant and many days of work get painted over but the work underneath is fundamental and vital until the finished piece obtains its own integrity and intensity.

BORN - Vlore, Albania.

EDUCATION, 2002-2006 studied studio painting and graduated from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia..



Honorable Mention-FAME 2019, Fellowship of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts - FPAFA.


Barnet prize for abstract Art from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


The Cadwalader prize for landscape from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


August Cook Prize for Excellence in Drawing. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


Charles Toppan Prize. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.


The Fred and Naomi Hazell Art Award for painting.

Interviews, Articles, Editions

The Art of Authentic Doubt

Nentor 2019, Zenit Edition, Tirane /

"The landscape thinks itself in me and I am its consciousness."


Reflection of Colors

June 2016 /

"Natyrisht ato "reminishenca" jane gjithmon aty ne linjen, ngjyren, compozimin etj, do te thosha jane ne maje te penelit".

From Turmoil an Artist Emerges

January 2012 /

"I escaped Albania in 1991 with only a few dollars in my pocket and a bunch of paintings, dreaming for the free world." Mustafa Lamaj.