Europe House BUZZ - November - Europe House

16 Dec


Europe House BUZZ – November

Europe House BUZZ – November
Dita Starova Qerimi
Director of the National Gallery

Dita Starova Qerimi

Dear Buzzers,

I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks and appreciation for the invaluable support of Ambassador David Geer, Head of the Delegation of the European Union, and to the Europe House in Skopje for including the National Gallery of the Republic of North Macedonia in the celebration of its 3rd Birthday. It was a joint effort to organize a series of events promoting the significance of our cultural heritage and affirming the commitment to its more systematic protection as one of the vital links in celebrating diversity and fostering the value of cultural identities.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, the significance and role of one of the most influential figures of Macedonian modern art, Lazar Lichenoski, and his legate – the legacy of his Memorial House and all his artefacts – were presented to the Representatives of member states to the EU.

Lazar Lichenoski is the founder of modern art in our country. In the 1960s, he was a man with a mission to bring Europe to Macedonia by establishing contemporary cultural values for everyone. That’s why we are so happy today that with the help and support of the EU Ambassador and the Europe House in Skopje, and with joint efforts in building our mutual vision, we have initiated various activities to make this Memorial House functional and to revive the work of this great artist. But this is not the end of our plans; optimism is our roadmap to moving forward, and with the support of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of North Macedonia, we shall continue to carry out our future projects.

Think Forward – Celebrating the 3rd Birthday of EUH Skopje: a bridge between youth and cultural heritage

“This is a house of spirits, of memories, of lives lived. Let’s take a moment to go backwards. To the first days when this house was opened….1962.

When we moved into our newly built house with a studio near Vardar on April 18, 1962, the finishing works were still in progress. Lazar wanted so much to finally enter his first real studio. But soon the house was threatened by the great flood that hit Skopje on November 16 and 17 of the same year: the water from Vardar filled the basement to a height of 1.20 m, causing damage. – These are the words of Lichenoski’s wife Zoa, by all accounts a formidable person in her own right and also an artist.

She continues:

During 1962 and 1963, Lazar worked on his large mosaic “Apotheosis of Labor” in the loggia facing Vardar. He worked on it tirelessly, with great energy and enthusiasm, as with everything he did. I was happy to help him – as I did once in Corfu, on Vido – on some smaller decorative parts, for example in the meander, the pheasant, the sandals and others, but also in the mixing of sand and cement with water for casting. He told me: “This will be my life’s work”. He got up at four in the morning, as if something was driving him to finish it as soon as possible. The installation of the mosaic on the facade was completed before the earthquake itself. The scaffolding had just been removed.

You can see the Apotheosis of labour on the balcony outside, from the street. And by the way, the apotheosis of labour is depicted by Lichenoski in the form of a woman scientists.

Let’s move on, one year later. To a fateful evening.

On the evening of July 25, our friends Dime Bojanoski – Dize and his wife Dushica came to visit us. We spent the evening in a pleasant conversation in the atelier, in the corner with the settees and the round coffee table, where we usually sat and received guests – not realizing that these were our last happy hours in the house… The summer night was warm and we stayed quite late. When we parted with the guests in the best of moods, no one could imagine what awaited us early tomorrow.

We all know what happened the next morning at 05.17 – an earthquake that left the city in ruins. But somehow this building survived. This is a house of spirits, of memories, of lives lived. But we all want to see it put to best use. To be a window for the world to look into the great soul of Macedonian art. This is a huge challenge for all of us. This is not a rich country and we need to think – all of us – how together we can give life to this place. Government – civil society – business – the international community.

One word of caution – if we do manage to achieve this task, we need to act with respect. This building talks to us, it has history, it has scars. Look at the patina of the walls, the places, that fire has touched it, the grey that has accumulated over the years. Let’s not wipe all that away beneath shiny surfaces and ostentation. This is house whose beauty shines through. See it….listen to the voices that almost echo here. Its soul.” 

– An excerpt of Ambassador David Geer’s speech at the networking event with cultural attachés from EU Embassies, honouring the personality and artwork of Lazar Lichenoski.

Following our first visit to Lichenoski’s Memorial House at the invitation of Dr Dita Starova Qerimi, Director of the National Gallery, we were delighted by what we saw there. Yet, worried about the current state of the building, we knew immediately that this was a space full of enduring legacy and stories we had to tell. Our slogan “THINK FORWARD” relived the same BUZZ as Duke Bojadziev’s concert on the occasion of Europe Day.

Inspired by the culture and art we have just witnessed, it didn’t take long for us to shape our impressions into a framework of activities within the Europe House Skopje’s 3rd Birthday celebrations. Therefore, we designed a program for students and faculty from the Academy of Fine Arts to have their group exhibition set up in Lichenoski’s house.

We have decided that this exhibition would consist of works created and inspired by Lichenovski’s personality and art, from the architecture of his house and working space to his attitude towards culture and cultural heritage. Following in the footsteps of Lichenovski and inspired by his energy, talent, and creativity that left a permanent and invaluable testimony to art and cultural heritage, these emerging artists were eager to display their authentic artwork.

We had little time for research, design, and implementation of the entire project, but even so, we hope the audience could feel the enthusiasm and youthful energy that was once so valuable to Lichenovski himself. Lichenoski, as a Professor at the School of Applied Arts (now called the State High School of Art and Design bearing his name), profoundly impacted later generations of Macedonian artists in producing “new art – diction and visual linguistics of the new age”. In the spirit of education values and vision, we turn Lichenovski’s Memorial House into a workshop for students to discover or demystify its space and attitude towards it.

That is why this exhibition allows the creative process to be modeled by ideas and artistic expression, to conquer the space and offer an experience through creating an opportunity for developing the phenomenon of the artistic concept by disregarding the strict divisions of artistic mediums and forms and even allowing an intertwining of different types of art.

– Prof Slavica Janeshlieva, PhD, FLU, UKIM in Skopje

Also, we had a contest for digital artists inspired by the “Apotheosis of Labour” Mosaic. The winner Hristina Gjorgjievska designed the 2023 Europe House Calendar in collaboration with the visual artist Zoran Kardula.

The uniqueness of the Memorial House was also accentuated in an artistic video of the two dancers Andrijana Danchevska and Dejan Bitrovski, performing seamlessly to the background music of the Macedonian jazz trio Zulu 3.4.

Furthermore, the first episode of the Culture Talks series was dedicated to Lichenoski. The Memorial House was officially opened not only to a broader audience of contemporary young artists and high-ranking representatives of the diplomatic corps but also to the general public, reminding everyone of our cultural and artistic treasure.

Our Europe House Birthday Programme, inspired by our cultural and artistic heritage and the responsibility of protecting its value, was aimed at making it more accessible to future generations. Younger generations need to be educated to cherish their cultural heritage as the foundation of their future artistic expression. After all, that’s the idea behind ​​our slogan, Think Forward, to open a window to the numerous opportunities for young people and to be the bridge between youth and good practices across time and space. We encourage and inspire you to keep moving forward and take on new challenges!

Strumica: Mayor for a Day – Taking responsibility at least for one day – the experience of a lifetime

With 2023 “knocking” at our door and the end of the European Youth Year slowly approaching, we dedicated these activities to promoting and attaining the 11 European Youth Goals.

We celebrated the month of November with a tea party prepared for us by the Mayors for A Day, together with their peers from the Strumica region and the Mayor of Strumica, Mr. Kosta Kostadinov.

Young people had the opportunity to get acquainted with the “Municipality Takeover – Mayor for a Day” Programme, but also directly hear first-hand experiences and impressions on the subject of Youth and Institutions and share their ideas and opinions on the possibilities and perspectives for young people in the Municipality of Strumica.

Another initiative that also aimed to encourage young people to think and discuss their future careers and personal development was “Window of Opportunity”, a joint project with Goran Dinov, a successful entrepreneur and businessman from Strumica.

Kriva Palanka: Boosting Community-Based Tourism Through Youth Work

A panel discussion on “Boosting Community Based Tourism Through Youth Work” was organized by Europe House Kriva Palanka and the Tourism and Hospitality Class, High School Mitko Pendzukliski in Kratovo.

Young people from the Kratovo region discussed the potential of gastro tourism and digital nomad tourism as a growing trend among young adults and the role of social networks in promoting alternative tourist destinations. They shared their ideas and suggestions for the overall development of regional tourism to keep in step with modern times while preserving the existing traditional features of the region.

What Is a Digital Nomad and How Do You Become One?

You can work from anywhere you want and travel freely full-time, adopting a nomadic lifestyle as you travel from one place to another. You discover more cultures and meet new people while cultivating your personal growth and building your online businesses.

The number of digital nomads with traditional jobs increased by 42% in 2021, growing to 10.2 million; whereas independent workers grew 15%. More than 70% work full-time, and the remaining 30% may work part-time or only part of a year. Information technology (IT) workers make up 19% of digital nomads, with other sectors such as creative services and accountancy having lower representation.

We were joined by the owners of the successful tourist project  The Countryside from the Municipality of Rankovce, a young tour guide, members of the local youth councils from Kriva Palanka and Kratovo, and representatives from museums from Kriva Palanka and Kratovo who work in the tourism sector.

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