In return to the eternal question "What is Art?", google just gave me a phenomenal number of 1,440,000,000 results in 0.93 seconds!!!!
Then out of curiosity, I typed: "Art in the Balkans" and got "only" 9,260,000 results... significantly less for such a prolific region in artists whose talent and expression have brought more joy and beauty to the last 13 years of my life in this region.
(1) Mugs from the Tvornica collective of designers, artists and sculptors in Macedonia; (2) drawing by Albanian artist Zanfira Heta, (3) watercolor by Macedonian artist Simonida Kitanovska; (4) painting on wood by Croatian artist Tisja Kljaković Braić.
As you see, I am definitely not referring to the sculptures of men on horseback and nationalist heroes that one finds all over Skopje due to the ideological choices of the government in power. Those "sculptures" grow more than mushrooms in a forest all over Skopje since 2012 and as far as I am concerned they are not art. They just make my heart skip a beat because with so many remarkable artists in Macedonia it's a shame to spend money on massive statues rather than to support true culture ...!
Anyway, let's go back to beauty and leave the beasts alone! When I arrive somewhere, I check two things: the music scene and the art scene. It allows me to see how people feel, how compelled and free they are to express themselves, their opinions, dreams, anger, joy, aspirations, to see life through their perspective, to learn about the culture of the country. The list could go on and on, but no words can express accurately the pleasure that I experience daily looking at the art works by these artists from Albania, Croatia and Macedonia that populate my house and contribute to making it a home.
Albania: (1) Oil on canvas by Genti Korini (2004) and (2) oil on canvas by Zanfira Heta (2003)
Croatia: (1) Tisja Kljaković Braić “Opet si zaboravila potopit bakalar”, (2) Sanja Pribic "Dinko" (2015)
Macedonia: Simonida Filipova Kitanovska "Dva sveta" (watercolor, 2014)
Each one of these works corresponds to a human being who, by bringing art into my Balkan life, made me feel happier on moments when frustration and disbelief in the future wanted to settle in. Thank you! Faleminderit! Hvala! Blagodaram!