La Escocesa, Barcelona, Artist in Residence, September-October 2019

I spent two months at the Artist in Residence in Barcelona as part of the new exchange program made between Belgrade Artist in Residence and La Escocesa and all made possible with the I-Portunus grant. i-Portunus is a project, selected and funded by the Creative Europe program of the European Union. It supports short-term mobility of artists and culture professionals.I will present my research process and work made during my stay at the artist in residence through a performance at the beach and also the second part in a form of the open studio after the performance at La Escocesa.

The performance was at the beach Nova Mar Bella and after the performance, at the open studio I will share my research process with different works made during the residency, such as drawings, video, and a small installation made with locally found objects, mostly from nature and combined with few personal objects, creating shamanic like altar.

In the performance I am creating the ritual that will help me overcome the fear of deep water and sharks. Because I always loved the sea and all the animals but was facing this double feeling at the same time being deeply attracted to the water and sharks and at the same time I was afraid.

Whatever is down there that I can’t see was magnified with my imagination. I would start noticing shadows and anticipating some scary encounters.Sharks are, as symbols, most of the time representation of all the fears of unknown and the water is always connected to our subconscious. That is why the water rituals are important in many cultural traditions and involve different aspects like initiation, giving respect to ancestors, spiritual and physical purification.

Creating the headdress as a protection for the performance, I was inspired by elements from different traditions. Using dragon-like creature on front and back of the headdress, I make reference on both Catalan and Serbian Slavic tradition, both have dragons in their mythology. I am exploring cultural identity and the meaning of tradition, especially mythology, in contemporary society.

Other part of my research was including photos of the water surface but also underwater photos and short videos. Water was huge inspiration over the years. With this series of drawings, I am exploring the inner feeling that water triggers. Shadows, light, and colors were the inspiration, showing emotions, anticipation and playing with abstract forms. Starting with a white paper and using grey or blue and green shades or inverting it by starting with black or grey paper, leads me to freely explore my subconsciousness and feelings about the whole process.

In the short videos, I was documenting the experience, showing body movement underwater, attempts to go deeper then neck-deep water, swimming away backward in fear after those attempts, also enjoying the water, looking the fish and beautiful light.This project is very complex and will be continued in the future.

I hope to make it bigger than just a performance and a future exhibition. I would love it to grow into more connections between art and science potentially leading to shark preservation, education people of sharks importance for the ecosystem and the ocean.  

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