Thursday, September 5, 2013

Contemporary Macedonians

One of this months covers.
Design by Aleksandar Ares & layout by K.K.W.
Dress design by Katerina Mikrut.
Photo by Leni von Geleva [NeuErotik]
Model: Milena Atanasova
A rose by any other name, would still be the same. By K.K.W

This month we're focusing the spotlight on an amazingly charming little country, brimming with the possibility of a new creative, cultural capital in the Balkans.
Katarina Doda - Jewelry Designer.
Photo courtesy of the artist
Depending on who you ask (especially many in Greece and maybe Bulgaria) The Republic of Macedonia, in the modern sense, is an artificial creation. However, its a known fact that all modern nations are recent, politically motivated construct's based on creation "myths". (1 - Smith A.D. The Antiquity Of Nations. 2004 Pg 47) And if so, the creation of Macedonian identity is "no more or less artificial than any other identity". (2-Rae, Heather. State identities and the homogenisation of peoples. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pg 278).

Jane Altiparmakov - Filmmaker.
Photo courtesy of the artist.

Leni von Geleva - visual artist [photography]
& cinematographer. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Regardless of the details of the emergence of this nation (an amazing bit of history) - which is an offshoot of its distant past - what makes it great is the people who embody its culture, with a knowledge of the culture of others.  Located in the central Balkan Peninsula in Southeastern Europe, its one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia - from which it declared independence in 1991.  In 1993 they became a member of the united nations and is currently waiting for membership in NATO and the EU (both made tough by an ongoing dispute over its name with Greece).

Beyond these facts, and others, what I know of the country is through  the few I've met here in NYC (the first being Ana Piponska) and those I connected with through Facbook (artists, musicians, fashion designers, poets, and the all-around culturally savvy individuals).

Marjan Kjulavkovski - Cinematographer /
videography. Photo courtesy of the artist.
Aware of their country's past (religious, conservative, & somewhat behind the times)  and its present (striving to be truly modern in all ways) an along with the qualities that make them Balkan/Macedonian, its their appreciation of Western culture that make them similar.

Kenzo Tange architects - they won part of the prize
to design & rebuild part of Skopje after the earthquake
in 1963 that destroyed  almost 80% of the city.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Meglena Visinska - visual artist
[grand daughter  of Dimitar Kondovski].
Photo courtesy of the artist. 
Meglena Visinska's love of Erika Badu, Milena Atanasova at an event with "Tricky", Marjan Kjulavkovski's love for Miles Davis and Charlie Parker, Irena Andonova posting her favorite Nina Simone songs, Biljana Vasileva sharing her picks for Billie Holiday songs, and Natalia Kiceec's paintings of iconic Jazz greats. Ana Maria Mateja Radosavljevic & Ivana Kuzmanovska's devotion for The Wu Tang Clan, or Aleksandra Nikoloska telling me about Betty Marv Davis (that she was a pain in the ass, according to Miles Davis) & Hinki Migdal posting quotes by MLK. 
Milena Atanasova - visual artist, fashion designer,
& model.
When it comes to films there's  few great examples they can't speak of - "Blade Runner", "Citizen Kane", "Metropolis",  "Malcolm X",  "Breakfast At Tiffany's", "The Hunger", "Lady Sings The Blues", "Black Rain", & "Highlander". Their as politically savvy when it comes to their country (Skopje 2014 Project & the urban change going on in the capital- choosing to voice their complaints through creative humor & grass-root political activism), and their attention to matters around the world ("Occupy Wall Street", the situation in Greece, protests in Turkey, Trayvon Martin etc). 
Irena Andonova - visual artist [Painting & drawing]
Currently in Berlin, Germany.
Though what makes them interesting and who they are? From a very religious country, yet many are God-less & without traditional religious views (although very spiritual in a natural way). Exuberant and outgoing, yet closed off and tinged with a charming melancholy. Fiercely independent with a firm belief in personal freedom & liberty (which at times I find hard to deal with, when trying to work with them creatively). Their intellectual and at the same time amazingly funny, silly and a little perverse. A love of the simple things of life - Ajar, good wine, cocktails, grilled meats/fish, fruits, a smoke (I'm still amazed @ how many smoke cigarettes :] ),  friends and great conversation. 
Biljana Vasileva - Visual artist [Painting  & drawing]
Natalia Kiceec - visual artist [Painting]
"India" by Natalia Kiceec.
50x60 cm, 2009. Oil on canvas.
Those I've come to know, however much or little, are in fact the zeitgeist of their modern nation. And regardless of the land, its monuments, or what was the past versus the reality of the present, it is the people which define the culture & make it what it is. And even after a few years, still they seem strange to me, yet also like distant friends I've known for years.      
Ana Maria Mateja Radosavljevic -
visual artist [photography]
Flag Of The Republic of Macedonia 
Mount Korab, The Republic Of Macedonia.
If you would like to know more, please go through the articles, & interviews on this blog for the last 3 years. "Art is the reason, art is the way"

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