From: Exi
Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj Could Face Action from Artist Whose Work He Plagiarised

The artist that Mayor of Tirana Erion Veliaj and the Municipality of Tirana plagiarised work from, is considering further action against him.

In February, the Municipality erected new road signs in the Bllok part of the city to celebrate 100 years of the proclamation of Tirana as the capital of Albania. These humorous and artistic road signs are present on almost every road in the area. The problem is that they are the work of famous artist Clet Abraham, otherwise known as Le Clet.

Exit reached out to Clet who expressed his “surprise” about his work being plagiarised and confirmed that his work had been appropriated without his knowledge.

Following further communication with a contributor to Exit, Abraham’s assistant said:

“The Mayor of Tirana and his team didn’t ask Clet’s permission to use his art on the street signs of the city. They just used his art without permission.”

They then asked for advice on “how to manage the situation”. Legal advice has been presented to Clet’s office.

At the time the signs were placed in Blloku, Exit reached out to Erion Veliaj to ask if he had received permission. He responded by saying:

“You are not a journalist! You are a troll who embarrasses the profession, sometimes serving Russia, and other times local fascists. Keep on smearing, I hope you feel proud one day”.

He then blocked her, failing to clarify whether he did steal the artwork or was aware that it was someone else’s when he ok’d the project.

In addition to this, the Municipality launched a song to celebrate Tirana’s centennial. Entitled “What is Tirana to you?” it is a clear copy of the song “What is London to you?” that was published by the Mayor of London’s office in 2018.

Exit contacted the Mayor’s office and confirmed that Veliaj and the Municipality did not have permission to copy the concept or translate it into Albanian, changing “London” for “Tirana”.