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Wednesday, September 19, 2018, 

Arts colony brings together Macedonian and Greek artists

Arts colony brings together Macedonian and Greek artists

Struga, 12 July 2018 (MIA) – That art can unite people was proven once again, this time by six Macedonian and five Greek artists who took part in the first Macedonian-Greek arts colony held in Struga last week.

The arts colony, organized by the civic organization Concept as part of its Cultural Bridge project, brought together Macedonian artists Miroslav Masin, Sergej Andreevski, Shqipe Mehmeti, Ismet Ramicevic, and Natali Nikolovska with their fellow artists from Greece Angelos Skourtis, Antigoni Kavvatha, Elli Gravalou, Cornelius Grammenos, Marcos Hatzipateras, and Charalambos Katsatsidis.

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The artists spent some time on a Struga hotel terrace sharing their experiences and creating artworks inspired by Lake Ohrid and the Black Drim River.

The pieces were later displayed at an exhibit in Skopje’s Cifte Hammam.

Creativity knows no borders

“Artists wish to erase all borders,” said Greek painter Cornelius Grammenos, “so we can all be together.

“All artists are equals. Creativity knows no borders and artists help raise awareness about life. Life is much more important than politics.”

Grammenos said he believed ‘having an open mind’ was essential to solving any problem.

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The canvas he was working on featured meadows, land, and water because lately, Grammenos explained, he has been finding his inspiration in nature.

His fellow Athenian Angelos Skourtis was enjoying his stay in Struga, as well.

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“It’s an incredible experience. Macedonia is a beautiful country. Everyone’s been kind, and I like it here very much,” Skourtis said.

He was working on an erotic painting, a nude. Inspired by human relationships, Skourtis said he had been painting nudes for a while.

Women inspire young female screen print artist

Shqipe Mehmeti, a young screen print artist from Kicevo, also mentioned the power of art to connect people. To understand each other, she said, people could communicate through the language of art.

“It’s a wonderful idea to organize such a colony,” Mehmeti said. “I hope there will be many more such projects. You don’t have to speak another language when you can easily express yourself through art.”

Even though Mehmeti had not taken part in art colonies in ten years, she said she had accepted the invitation to this one without hesitation.

She marveled at what she was able to learn from her older colleagues and added she was looking forward to participating in the arts colony that is to take place in Greece next.

“I’m looking forward to seeing Athens and its museums, exhibitions, and art,” Mehmeti said.

She is inspired by women, and her screen prints illustrate women’s daily lives.

“Right now, I focus on the life of the Balkan woman, and the mentality over here. I draw attention to female needs, female sexuality, and women as victims of family violence,” Mehmeti said.

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“In the Balkans, a woman is seen first and foremost as a mother and wife, unfortunately, and only then as an individual who can have a career, as well.

She took note of the life of Struga women, but even more so of the peaceful coexistence among the townspeople, which the Greek guests praised, as well.

“My latest screen print was inspired by the women in Struga, and by religion. I was touched to see the coexistence in Struga. It’s a phenomenon that’s not that common.”

Sculptor presents antimilitarist performance piece

The Black Drim and Lake Ohrid inspired celebrated Macedonian sculptor Ismet Ramicevic, and these ‘positive vibrations,’ he said, were made even more intense by spending time with his fellow artists.

Locals had the chance to see his Snake performance piece at the Miladinov Brothers Cultural Center in Struga. As a performance artist, Ramicevic creates a work of art and destroys it.

His latest performance piece contained what he called ‘militant moments.’

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“It’s about a bullet, which I then destroy. The performance piece also contains musical moments, representative of Macedonian music. I wanted to include all this to better show my Greek colleagues what I do,” Ramicevic said.

He described himself as a cosmopolitan who found any tragedy in the world distressing.

“I feel a deep sadness, and I fight for people’s wellbeing. That’s why I do such performance pieces,” the sculptor said.

The upcoming Cultural Bridge arts colony set to take place in Athens, Greece, will provide the participating artists with some more time and space to create new works.

Slagjana Stojkova Kostoski

Tr. by Magdalena Reed

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