Pictures: Two works by Milica Dukić and “Encounters” e.invitation.
Visual artist Milica Dukić (Serbia) purchased a FaveLAB bond a few months ago to facilitate FaveLAB Athens to fund its ongoing project of connecting international artists to contemporary Greek culture.
Milica came to Athens to enjoy the “divident” of her investment – an AIR week – last month.
Her enthusiasm was contagious! Her work adorable! Her Athens and Greece observations striking and overwhelming!
We invited Milica to participate in our residents group show “Encounters” (Art Space Augo Avgo, Leonidio_Arcadia_19 – 22 October 2018) and sheaccepted the challenge.
Read her refreshing interview on embroidery, patience, the artist’s social mission, kindness and unconditional love below and imagine how much Athens has to offer to every intrepid contemporary artist!
1. What brought you to embroidery?
During my studies at Academy of Arts in Novi Sad (Serbia) my painting became more abstract. I was curious and, let’s say, maybe brave enough, to search for different methods in creating paintings. I always liked those repetitive visual moments. So, approximately six years ago, I got the idea to stitch canvases with colorful threads. For me, also for my colleagues and professors, it was something very refreshing.
At first, I mixed it with abstract paintings and I used embroidery technique to repeat my childhood drawings. Later, I used embroidery combined with photography.
For my master project I exhibited only reverse sides of paintings and I wrote a thesis about Revers Embroidery.
In my recent work, I am searching for solutions on how to present both sides of a work, as I find them both very interesting.
2. What can a contemporary visual artists learn from Greek embroidery?
The Benaki Museum is wonderful spot to get inspiration by observing and admiring the magnificent collection of traditional Greek embroidery. As this technique requires and takes time, it teaches me to stay patient and focused.
3. Your favorite museum/collection/site in Athens?
Acropolis and the National Archaeological Museum. The National Library and the view of the city seen from the area above. Churches in Plaka such as “Kapnikarea” and “Agios Nikolaos Ragavas” – these are the places I like the most. Walking through the streets of Exarchia (where the AIR studio is located) is also exciting. And I can recommend an event: helping and cooking for homeless on Wednesdays and Sundays in Omonia Square.
4. How did the Byzantine or Christian tradition of Athens inspire you?
The Byzantine and Christian traditions are very alive and visible in Greece. People celebrate Saints and all the good things they did for society.
So, seeing churches with a strong tradition helped me to ask myself a question:
How can I help as an artist? It inspires me to create socially engaging artworks.
5. Why would you advice artists to visit Aegina, the island close to Pireas (Athens Port)?
It is beautiful island, with a beautiful landscape and sites, the perfect place to escape from the big city. There are pistachio trees and fantastic pistachio ice cream as well!
6. Tell us a little bit about your work with animals on Paros.
Working in an animals rescue on Paros island for a month was a great chance for me to come to Greece and start discovering this interesting country. I was helping my host to take care of 5 dogs and around 15 cats, and, in exchange, I received their unconditional love. It was simply amazing just to observe their way of communicating with each other. For me it was funny to discover that each animal has its own strong personality.
7. What are you next plans?
After 14 months being away, as an Artist In Residence in Switzerland, Greece, and some other countries, I plan to spend some time in Serbia, where I will continue to create new artworks, and search for new residency projects.
I find that leaving behind the comfort zone and trying to settle in different environments helps creativity to blossom.