With the ability to penetrate imaginations, renowned Albanian artist Agim Sulaj employs a visual narrative that transcends language. He has spent more than 20 years acquiring endless prizes and awards across the length and breadth of the globe from the traditional yearly competition of satire and humor organised by Albanian magazine Hosteni — Satire and Humor, to a prize awarded at the first European Union International Biennale held at the European Cartoon Centre in Belgium.

In the mould of an image telling a thousand words, Sulaj has dedicated his career to creating insightful images with powerful socio-political stories, and in doing so has promoted the cartoon and caricature as a present day form of art, drawing the cartoon nearer to the public and making people aware of the importance of the caricature in our society. In 2010, after winning the Italian national award for humour and satire, CartoonSEA called Sulaj’s work “a fine, surreal satirical illustration, metaphor for the state of the environment and the failure to protect it”. However, Sulaj’s work is more than just a quick-witted satirical scribble; it is a thing of skilful, masterful beauty. A fascinating fusion between Fine Art and illustration. Sulaj employs the skills he acquired whilst studying Fine Art at the Academy of Tirana in 1985, with his own personal view on the world, a view shaped by the labyrinthine paths and narrow streets of the historic coastal city of Vlora where he spent his childhood.

This artistic fusion has won Sulaj wall-space exhibiting alongside celebrated artists such as De Chirico, Balthus, Nerdrum, Sandorfi, and David Hockney.

The cartoons of the artist’s early career depict major social and political problems of the 21st century, such as world poverty, environmental pollution, and immigration; such themes still underpin Sulaj’s work. However, he has also developed a hyper-realistic painterly style, and in this exhibition, visitors witness a romantic nostalgia for the beauty of nature as captured during Sulaj’s childhood. Often using trompe l’oeil to challenge the viewer, reminding us that not all is as it might initially appear to be, many of the works in this exhibition are eye-wateringly beautiful, others poetically poignant, all of them executed with incredible skill.

Sulaj now lives in Rimini, Italy, as an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. So how did his work come to hang at the North Wall Arts Centre in South Parade?

Artistic director Lucy Maycock says: “Our core mission is to break down barriers to participation in the arts, uniting aspiring artists with innovative professionals to create bold new work through our integrated outreach projects and productions.”

This is a rare opportunity for anyone interested in art, social commentary, nature, indeed life to examine and enjoy Sulaj’s unique blend of hyper-realism and political satire. It’s a fascinating, beautiful exhibition packed with that will not be easily forgotten.

North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Summertown, Oxford Until March 1. Mon-Fri 10am-4pm and Sat 12noon-4pm Admission free