Exhibitions with a Message of Peace

The European Capital of Culture will be representing peace from 17 June to 17 July - the next programme arch will offer Novi Sad residents and all visitors to the city various cultural events, which will send a unique message to Europe and the world. As the name suggests, the Fortress of Peace proclaims dialogue and reconciliation, which at this moment we particularly need. With the idea of ruins being the foundation for masterpieces, both in the social and political sense, that remain a permanent basis for peace, the European Capital of Culture brings together a large number of foreign and domestic artists and cultural workers who will offer their view of war and the challenges it brings. The exhibitions are an important part of the Fortress of Peace, and we will have the opportunity to see more than 15 exhibitions of various types in the most important cultural institutions in Novi Sad, but also outdoors so that every passer-by can (un)intentionally participate in reflecting on current and relevant social issues.

In the Svilara Cultural Station, a former silk factory that was one of the checkpoints for the Raid prisoners in Novi Sad, we will see the exhibition Ester – a Graphic Novel in Holocaust Education. The exhibition has become world-famous because of its use of modern methodology, developed in our country, and proven to be extremely important for a different approach to the culture of remembrance. The collection of graphic novels deals with the pre-war life of real historical figures of Jewish, Roma and Serbian origin, i.e., communities that were targeted by the Nazi occupiers. The opening is on 17 June at 7 p.m., and the exhibition will last until 24 June. Marisa Roth, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is coming to Svilara with her life’s work, the exhibition One Person Crying: Women and War. A photo reporter from Los Angeles, moved by tragic events from her family’s past, spend three decades working on the photographs we will see at the exhibition. The author is in a specific way related to the European Capital of Culture – because right here, in 1942, during the Raid, some of her closest relatives were killed, so this exhibition is a global photo essay, but it also shows us how the war affected women. The opening is on 18 June at 1 p.m., and the exhibition will last until 24 June.

The outdoor exhibition at one of the favourite locations of Novi Sad residents will turn the Quay into a space for reflection intended for all of us between 18 June and 17 July. ‘The Future of Remembrance – From Raid to Auschwitz’ is an exhibition that will try to answer the questions of what is the actual purpose of the culture of remembrance and whether there’s a difference between the individual, national, and what we call ‘European’ remembrance. Accompanied by the debate of the same name, the installation tries to unravel these and other similar issues. The opening is scheduled for 18 June at 4 p.m.

The Cultural Center of Novi Sad will host several exhibitions within the Fortress of Peace. In the Small Art Salon of CCNS, we’ll see the Exhibition of Paintings by Melita Kraus, which features the works of this painter from Bjelovar. Melita’s paintings tell the story of the missing world of Eastern European Ashkenazi through watercolours and artbooks. The exhibition opens on 18 June at 5 p.m. and lasts until the 24th of the same month. The CCNS art salon will be an exhibition space for Marija and Apolonia from 18 June at 7 p.m. until 2 July. Marija and Apolonia show the friendship between two women of different nationalities, German and Serbian, in the period before and during World War II, and tell the story of coexistence in our region, interpersonal support, and the fight against Nazism and fascism. From 19 June to 2 July, we will be able to see the exhibition Righteous Among the Nations, which uses its documentary approach to shed some light on ordinary people from the former Yugoslavia who received the title of Righteous Among the Nations from the state of Israel for their charity work. The exhibition is realised with the support of the Yad Vashem Remembrance Center from Israel, founded in 1953 and characterised by the fact that it has a wall of honourable people, in which the names of the righteous are engraved, and among which are three people from Novi Sad – Marija Tomić, Nadežda Pašćan, and Dr. Dušan Jovanović.

The Creative District in the city’s former industrial zone will be the venue for some of the larger exhibitions within the Fortress of Peace. One of them is the work of the author Nikola Lucati, called Stringers (‘stringer’ has a similar meaning to today’s freelancers), which is a selection of photographs – testimonies from war-torn regions of the world. From the opening of the exhibition on 23 June at 7 p.m. until 23 July, the audience will get acquainted with the works of photo-reporters, many of whom left their lives on assignment and who, despite poor conditions in media houses, had to accept such endeavours for the sake of their livelihood. And, on the plateau of the Creative District, right next to the Sunny Quay promenade, from 23 June to 23 July, a Media Labyrinth will be set up, an unusual multimedia exhibition in the form of a labyrinth which provides answers on the topics of modern media manipulation and propaganda. To find a way out of this interactive polygon, you will have to look for answers to the questions that are posed to you. On the same day at 6 p.m., the exhibition Imaginary Borders (23 June – 24 August) opens on the Suba Plateau in Liman Park, which talks about how non-European artists and activists perceive the idea of Europe and the European Union, with reference to the problems of neo-colonialism, xenophobia, economic exploitation, migration, and others.

We are staying nearby, and we are following the exhibition In Search of Europe on the Quay, which will open on 26 June at 6 p.m. and will last until 23 August. Nine stations along the Belgrade Quay, the Quay of the Victims of the Raid and the Sunny Quay will represent a multimedia exhibition, through which six historical figures will lead us. The guides through which some of the most important statesmen of the last century will speak will bring the audience closer to the dilemmas and problems that post-war Europe faced.

The Open Process (1-28 July) awaits us in Svilara, opening at 7 p.m. and presenting a multimedia exhibition dedicated to the post-war East German reality and the case of the crimes of the neo-Nazi group NSU, whose trial is considered one of the largest and most intriguing to the German public. The exhibition brings authentic manuals and records used during this great trial, and along the way introduces us to the works of great filmmakers Žilnik, Farocki, Hito Steyerl, Belit Sag and Ulf Aminde, known for their critical views and controversial work. The Open Process exhibition is interactive so that the audience will be able to explore this topic outside the venue through the application.

The two largest museums in Novi Sad will open several grand exhibitions in the coming period. ReCapitulation (3-31 July) awaits us at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina and the gallery space of the Shock Cooperative, an exhibition accompanied by performances, film screenings, and other activities that give an overview of three decades of Led Art, one of the main factors of the Novi Sad alternative art scene, recognizable by its activist approach to art and critical attitude to the current political moment. The Museum of Vojvodina will be the venue for a unique exhibition From Noise to Sound (2 July – 3 August) by Nikola Macura, an academic sculptor and professor who redesigned military facilities, or military waste – into musical instruments. The exhibition will be accompanied by a concert in the Unification Park on 1 July, featuring musicians from Graz and Serbia, united by a unique combination of Serbian and Austrian marches and ideas of demilitarization and anti-war action. In the Museum of Vojvodina, we will be able to see A Neolithic Night’s Dream, an exhibition that shows us the period of the early Neolithic and millennium-long peace, which emphasises the current state of torn Europe, as well as the Balkans, which was once the cradle of peace. The exhibition opens on 15 July at 8 p.m. and lasts until 15 November. Also, one of our most important cultural institutions, the Gallery of Matica Srpska, will open the exhibition Parallels. Timișoara / Novi Sad on 8 July (July 8 – September 4), which will tell us about the specifics

of artistic circles in the Banat area, where artists such as Stefan Tenecki, Pavel Petrović, Konstantin Danilo and Stevan Aleksić worked, and whose works are found in Serbian, as well as in the Romanian collections of art museums. In this way, the works of these artists create a common heritage, through which we study the coexistence of entire communities within the Habsburg monarchy in the 18th and 19th centuries


In addition to the exhibitions, the Fortress of Peace will bring us a total of more than 280 events with a joint mission over the next month, and you can find the complete programme and schedule on the website novisad2022.rs.

Author: Leona Pap


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