It should be clearly stated that this section of the Web Site refers to the arts and culture in Macedonia from 1946 to the present day. This is to avoid any confusion that might emerge from the majority of other Web Site's sub-topics that refer to particular aspects of the arts, such as fresco painting, icon painting, etc.
Post-War Macedonian Literature
In the liberated Macedonia conditions necessary for a full development and prosperity in the cultural life of the Macedonian people had emanated. They gave birth to several generations of prominent literature authors. In the beginning dominating were poets, and subsequently also authors from other literature fields.
In the poetic field, the first generation of poets included Aco Sopov, Slavko Janevski, Blaze Konevski, and Gogo Ivanovski, whose works were characterised by heroic and patriotic lyrics inspired by the topics of the People's Liberation War, the restoration, and the development of the country. In the fifties the second generation of the Post-War poets emerged, with the works influenced by the modern world poetry. Its main representatives are the poets Srbo Ivanovski, Gane Todorovski, Mateja Matevski, Cane Andreevski, and Ante Popovski. It has later been joined by the esteemed poets Vlada Urosevic, Petre Andreevski, Radovan Pavlovski, and other young authors, distinctive by pursuing the phenomenon of the intimate lyrics.
During the recent decades the Macedonian poetry has been endowed a series of outstanding poets that keep up with the latest trends in the world's poetry. Among them are Atanas Vangelov, Todor Calovski, Eftim Kletnikov, and Katica Culavkova.
Regarding the prose, the first post-war collection of short stories in the Macedonian language was "Before a Firing Squad" by Jovan Boskovski. The first generation of Macedonian novelists also include Stale Popov, Giorgi Abadziev, Slavko Janevski, Vlado Malevski, Kole Casule, and Jordan Leov. The second generation includes Dimitar Solev, Meto Jovanovski, Simon Drakul, etc. The most prominent among the members of the third generation are Tasko Georgievski, Petar Sirilov, Zivko Cingo, Metodija Fotev, Vlada Urosevic, Petre Andreevski. There is also the youngest generation that includes Vladimir Kostov, Dimitar Basevski and Vase Mancev.
After the first collections of short stories, in the fifties the first narrative appeared, "The Street", and the first novel in the Macedonian language, "The Village behind the Seven Ashes" by Slavko Janevski, and subsequently also the novels "Robbers' Nest" by Giorgi Abadziev and "Patched Life" by Stale Popov. Of particular importance are the novels of Vlado Malevski, Slavko Janevski, Stale Popov, Tasko Georgievski, Metodija Fotev, and others.
Unlike the poetry and prose in general, relatively small number of dramatists emerged in the liberated Macedonia. From the older, pre-war generation still active were the playwrights Risto Krle, Anton Panov and Vasil Iljoski; they wrote about ten plays. In the fifties important new names, such as Kole Casule and Tome Arsovski emerged. Among the praiseworthy plays are "The Honour", "Bloodied stone" and "The Wedding" by Vasil Iljoski, "Twig on the Wind" and "Blacknesses" by Kole Casule, and "Alexandra" and "Diogenes's Paradox" by Tome Arsovski.
In the recent decades, a number of prominent dramatists have emerged. Among them the most successful playwrights are Goran Stefanovski with his "Proud Flesh" and "Double Bottom", and Jordan Plevnesh with "Erigon", "Macedonishe Custande", and "Yugoslav Antithesis ", etc.
Post-war painting art
In contrast to the literature, in the late XIX century the last threads that linked Macedonian painting art with its millennium long tradition were severely cut. Then a period of romantic depictions of sunsets started developing rapidly. However, merging with the contemporary European artistic movements accelerated with the emergence of the Macedonian moderna movement in the twenties. Adopting them with a delay, and following the violent changes in the European arts from the distance, the Macedonian artists started showing an increased interest in joining those rapid streams, but also their own painting tradition as well.
From the unobtrusive, subtle influence of the direct touch with the artistic achievements, primarily of the medieval Byzantine art in the works of Martinoski (an obsessive repetition of the motif of motherhood and his "mothers" as a hidden memory of the icon of the Holy Mother with the icon lamp's pale light in front of it, illuminating the dark space of child's dreams), and the folk creations used as a fine ground for the flourishing of new and wondrous forms of Ordan Petlevski, through the formal taking up of the stylistic and iconografic solutions in the "cubistic oratorio" of Borko Lazeski, all the way to the moment when the group called "Mugri (The Dawn)" (1960) will address new issues concerning the utilization of the accumulated painting experience. Then Dimitar Kondovski will create his "icons", and Tomo Sijak his "musandri", formulated as sacral, cult objects. Next will be the fascinating visions of Vladimir Georgievski, then the "style exercises" of Gligor Zemerski, with their continuing pondering into the depths of their individual and national past, and recording of the secret hieroglyphs of Macedonia with an increasingly defined form of expression.
Our overall cultural heritage drastically reflects in the contemporary arts where, surpassing its own boundaries, it transforms into the universal. Through their continuous communication with the past, but also through their critical, transhistoric synthesis, Macedonian painters, deeply rooted in their time and in their country, create works of universal and permanent value. This pondering into the depths of the past and the analysis of the cultural layers is comprehensive and includes the suggestions of the prehistoric art, Classical Greece, Hellenistic cosmopolitanism, Roman eclecticism, and Slavonic spiritualism. Thus, Macedonian artists, in their diligent quest for their creative identity, aim at contemplating about the crucial components of the entire Mediterranean area, in an essentially present-day approach - for all cultural layers it owns without exception - as noted by Boris Petkovski in his work "The Mediterranean and We".
Today, when we once again demand the art to enable us to regain the touch with the reality, when we demand it to restore our broken picture of the world, it is necessary to open it to the centuries long piling of experiences.
Descending to the dark abysses of the subconscious, where the deepest layers of the psyche lose their individuality and, withdrawing farther and farther to the darkness, turn into collective memory, is how Aneta Svetieva finds the archaic forms loaded with emotions.
On the battlefield where the angel and the demon fight, at the point where horizontalities and verticalities of the world meet, where the Heaven and the Earth meet, the past and the presence - at this crucifix of his Vladimir Georgievski discovers his personal creative manifestation of the overall human sufferings.
Sometimes the works of the Macedonian artists reveal also somehow different domains of a world full of gods, as a longing for the lost "Arcadia", for the innocence of the first sight and touch, when the strange and awesome world reveals to us for the first time. Such are the works of Rubens Korubin, with their aura of forgotten dreamworld domains, sunny realms where the human and the nature are still unbreakably united.
The contemporary nomads, like Simon Shemov, wander around the endless realms and distant times seeking treasures to embody them in their works to shine unexpectedly and discover entirely new meanings.
With his immediate contact with the supreme artistic works, such as the medieval Macedonian frescoes, but also with the works of the great masters of the Western European art, Gligor Chemerski discovers again the secrets of the art, creating new mythic images of his time.
The complicity of such explorations compel the Macedonian artists to try and find the basis of their philosophical point of view in their quest for "the contemporary myth", a quest where they find the limits of their own experiences and try to get closer to a direct and full experience of the world. So, in order to fulfill their dream about the distant time when man was a part of the nature's great rhythm, and the world did not reveal as lifeless and empty, they turn back to the highest artistic achievements of the past, to the époques such as the Middle Ages, when trough the arts man's deepest and darkest secrets were explored. Deciphering the puzzling past records, they discover those axiomatic images that reveal the complex structure of the reality.
The contemporary tendencies, in the presentation aimed against the aestheticism, return to the arts their ontological status. The abandoning of the aesthetic subjectivism in order to regain the original reality, the disrupted unity of the man and the world, the exploration of the man's deepest secrets, of the untangled knots of the threads that link the world, - all of these give rise to the issue of a new approach towards the tradition.
Regarding the historic development of the painting art in the post-war period, along with other cultural activities, also the painting was given quite remarkable attention in Macedonia. Immediately after the liberation, in 1945, the Applied Arts School was established in Skopje, in the following year the Painters' Society, and in 1949 the Art Gallery. Ever since the first post-war year up to the present day, regular annual exhibitions of Macedonian painters have been organized.
In the liberated Macedonia the most esteemed Macedonian painters continued with their opulent painting activities. Among them were: Nikola Martinovski, Lazar Licenovski, Dimitar Avramov Pandilovski, Vangel Kodzoman, Tomo Vladimirovski, Ljuben Belogaski, Borko Lazeski, Dimce Protudjer, and the caricaturist Vasilie Popovic - Cico. They mainly cherished the socialistic realism and the intimate art.
Soon after the liberation, also the first generation of painters educated in the socialistic Yugoslavia emerged. They will introduce modernization in the artistic expression. Among the prominent were: Mile Korubin, Petar Mazev, Jordan Grabul (the monument in Krusevo), Petar Hadzi - Boskov, Dimitar Kondovski, Spase Kunovski, and Tomo Sijak. Shortly after that, also the first groups were formed: "Denes" (1953), VDIST (1955), and "Mugri" (1961). In 1964 also the Contemporary Arts Museum was established in Skopje.
In the recent decades Macedonian painting art gained broad international recognition. To that extent of particular importance have been the contributions of Rodoljub Anastasov, Trajce Jancevski, Risto Kalcevski, Vangel Naumovski, Ana Temkova, Gligor Cemerski, Simon Semov and, certainly, one of the greatest, Vasko Taskovski.
Theatrics, music, and film.
Also the theatrics, music, and film play an important role in Macedonia's cultural life.
Only a few months after the liberation, with the decision of the Presidium of ASNOM dated 31 January 1945, the Macedonian National Theatre (MNT) was established as the first Macedonian professional theatre, in 1946 the Drama Theatre, and in 1949 the Theatre of Minorities, all in Skopje. National Theatres were also formed in Bitola (1944), Stip, Strumica, Prilep, Kumanovo, and in other Macedonian cities. Numerous Macedonian actors have since excelled on the theatre stages, including Todor Nikolovki, Petre Prlicko, Darko Damevski, and Risto Shiskov.
The theatre stages in Macedonia have seen performances of almost all prominent world authors; yet the audience has always been most attentive to the domestic plays.
The music culture in Macedonia can be traced down as far back in the past as the IX century, during the time of Clement of Ohrid and Naum. At their University, among other subjects, also the church music was studied. In the XIV century in Debar Jovan Kukuzel was important for his notation system and his melodies. That was also the period when the Ottoman enslavery came. In that interval the folk music was cherished. The subjugators could not prevent the people from singing. In the XIX century also the first melodists emerge, including Naum Miladinov, the brother of Dimitar and Konstantin. In the second half of the XIX century Atanas Badev, born in Prilep, was active. He completed his music studies in Russia, as a student of Nicolai Rimski Corsacov. His most successful work was "The Liturgy by St. John Chrysostom", where the influence of the Russian church music is sensed. Following Badev, in the early XX century, the first generation of composers emerge: Stevan Gajdov, Trajko Prokopiev, Todor Skalovski, Zifko Firfov, Petre Bogdanov - Kochko.
Shortly after the liberation the first music school was established in Skopje. In almost all towns choruses were formed (from school to town ones), and within the Radio Skopje the Symphonic Orchestra, later advanced into the Macedonian Philharmonics. In 1947 in Skopje the first opera saw its stage performance. It was Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni. In 1954, Kiril Makedonski composed the first Macedonian opera, "Goce", and later also the operas "Tzar Samoil" and "Ilinden".
Among other opera composers are Toma Proshev, Risto Avramovski, Dimitrie Buzurovski, and others.
Also the Macedonian folk music has been deeply cherished, particularly through the RTV Skopje, and the records of the "Marko Cepenkov" Folklore Institute in Skopje.
Right after the liberation also the Macedonian pop music emerged, especially through the activities of the composers Dragan Giakonovski - Shpato, Slave Dimitrov, and a range of modern Macedonian composers. Today the Macedonian modern music is highly developed, and includes numerous singers or bands, such as the famous "Leb i Sol" and the solo career of its leader Vlatko Stefanovski, "Memorija", "Arhangel", "Anastasija", Maja Odzaklievska, Vlado Janevski, Sasho Gigov - Gish with his "Bankrot Bluz Bend", "Den Potoa", "Nokaut", and many other popular and not so popular groups that shoot up like mushrooms after rain.
The roots of the cinematography date ever since the pioneering filmings of the brothers Janaki and Milton Manaki. Their pioneering feats, as the first cameramen in the Balkans, endowed us with the invaluable heritage that consists of several shootings. Moreover, after the Second World War, the establishment of the Cinematography Department at the Government of the People's Republic of Macedonia and the Film Department, also marked the beginning of the film production. In 1947 the "Vardar Film" company was established, and the "Grain for the people" and "To elections, for New Victories" documentaries were produced. In 1952 the first Macedonian feature film, "Frosina" was produced.
During the post-war development of the Macedonian cinematography about 40 feature films as well as numerous documentaries were produced, and in the seventies also the production of the animated cartoons started. Among the most prominent Macedonian directors are: Dimitrie Osmanli, Branko Gapo, Kiril Ceneski, and Stale Popov, whose movie was nominated for Oscar - the prestige American Academy award.
Also an Oscar nominee was the famous movie that was awarded Grand Prix at the prestige Venice Festival - "Before the Rain" by Milcho Manchevski, a movie that reflects the current political situation in the Balkans and in Macedonia.