Young and versatile artist from Novi Sad, who lives and works in Rome, has permanent exhibitions in Zurich and New York and exhibits around the world, Minja Mikic, has become amabssador of the project Novi Sad European Capital of Culture 2021.
Although she lives in Rome, and the biggest “recognitions” for her work gained in Italy, she is most grateful first of all to her family and her city where she grew up and graduated from the Academy of Arts. She accepted with great pleasure to promote Novi Sad as the European Capital of Culture, and in the Gallery of Matica srpska, during a symbolic declaration for the ambassador she answered to our questions.
What was your first reaction to the invitation to become an amabassador of the project “Novi Sad 2021”? Also, how did you feel about the news that Novi Sad was elected or the European Capital of Culture 2021?
I thought that this title is exactly what Novi Sad deserves. I was very pleased that colleagues from the European Commission, using the highest standards, recognized the potential and confirmed the qualities of a truly European city. The invitation to promote Novi Sad, as an ambassador, made official what I have been doing for years at my exhibitions around the world.
According to your opinion, what was cruical for Novi Sad to obtain this prestigious title?
Novi Sad has a great fortune that, above all, its geographical location is in the center of Europe. It is multiethnic and multicultural environment, and that is something charished for centuries in this area. That fact has throughout history contributed to develop the city into a commercial, industrial, tourist, sports, university center! This universality on the one hand and on the other great authenticity, both interesting and certainly influenced the curiosity of our European commisions.
Does Novi Sad, at the moment, have “that something” that could place him in line of European cultural centers such as Rome, Paris, Berlin…?
“That something “is always in the people! In this multi-ethnic environment on equally live many nationalities, and we are all together – citizens of Novi Sad! This tolerance, authenticity and strength of character are surely our pride and can be measured with world metropoles. I think “that something” I brought from Novi Sad and I recognize it in some big cities. For example, New York is just fantastic because almost everyone all foreigners but at the same time they are all New Yorkers!
You were born in Novi Sad and you studied here. In what way the Novi Sad culture influenced your personal growth and development of your expression?
I grew up in a family of artists, so the cultural events, exhibitions, ballet performances, theater … are my natural environment. Novi Sad has always had its repertoire, which eventually became too small for me, but it definitely affected my professional formation.
In 2021, the year when Novi Sad will be the European Capital of Culture, large investments in “cultural infrastructure” are expected. If you are the one able to choose what priorities will be first constructed or reconstructed?
I believe that this is an opportunity to strengthen cultural institutions, such as, for example, the Matica srpska, but perhaps also an opportunity to form some new ones. This is a very important moment in the history of this city, perhaps we can say even cruical, and we could celebrate it with the “birth” of a great cultural center, which would gather lovers of art and have more space for the young. “Birth” of such an institution would celebrate this historic moment.
You have done a lot to promote Italy. Your paintings featuring famous Italians and cities promoted the “Apennine Peninsula” in New York, at the Olympics in Rio. Your exhibition was part of the promotion of Rome – the city candidate to host the Olympic Games. Do you have an idea of how best to promote Novi Sad, especially as the European Capital of Culture?
As mentioned before, people are the ones who make an environment, they are wealth of a society! This was the main theme and the message of my project “GAPscape State of Art Italia”, where I had the opportunity to meet and hang out with the most important people who represent the Italian intellectual elite and to paint their portraits. Interviews with Morricone, Toscani, Pistoletto, Bonito Oliva… left a big mark in my professional growing. Word “culture” comes from the Latin “colere“, which means to cultivate, grow … it is a system of knowledge, thinking. Culture is the competencies and knowledge of a man reflected to the entire society. Novi Sad should charish and invest in its quality people, especially the young talents who will be his new ambassadors and promoters tomorrow.