Monday, May 28, 2012

Macedonia Puritans Dress Up Skopje Statue

Municipal authorities in the Macedonian capital Skopje have quickly made arrangements to have a recently erected bronze statue of naked Prometheus covered up, following complaints from unidentified "women's organizations".
Sinisa Jakov Marusic
Prometheus statue after intervention
The complaints - and the speedy official response - have sparked debate, and some have acccused the authorities of hypocrisy.

After just a few days of complaints, the municipal authorities arranged for a bronze loin cloth to be welded to the statue, restoring Prometheus' modesty. The statue had been erected earlier in May, opposite the Parliament building.

Centar Municipality in a statement last week said the changes were made “after several women’s organizations filed complaints” and were “offended” by the statue's nudity. The municipality stressed that the sculptor, Tome Adzievski, had given permission for the statiue to be partially covered.

However, on Friday the municipality declined to name the organisations concerned and Mayor Vladimir Todorovic was not avaliable for comment.

Savka Todorova, head of the country's largest women's association, the Union of Women’s Organizations of Macedonia, SOZM, said her organisation had not made any request to the authorities regarding the statue.

Todorova said “the naked man is not a problem”. Instead, she criticised what she said was wider tendency of “not taking women seriously through sculpture and [usually] representing them as 'decoration' and without authority.”

The sculpture is part of a monument complex dedicated to “fallen Macedonian heroes” that is being erected opposite Parliament. Prometheus, who in Greek mythology stole fire from the gods, is depicted as a symbol of self-sacrifice.  Behind and above the statue of Prometheus are four horses and a goddess symbolizing victory.

“Our environment is small and frustrated and this (speedy cover-up) reflects hypocrisy    and self-censorship,” said Skopje-based art professor Vladimir Velickovski, adding that “in private everything is allowed while in public everything is disputed.”

The sculpture and monument are part of the government-funded “Skopje 2014” project aimed at beautifying the shabby centre of the Macedonian capital.

While the centre-right government of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski has staunchly defended the expensive overhaul, which mainly draws inspiration from the styles of ancient antiquity, opposition parties have criticised the cost of the project at a time of economic uncertainty.

The Prometheus incident has prompted many to speculate about the possibility of a cover-up in the case of a giant sculpture of a woman brest-feeding a child, which is yet to be erected in Karposh Square, just a few hundred metres from the Prometheus sculpture.

See related gallery: Skopje 2014: The new face of Macedonia, updated

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another proof of the difficulties of Balkan nations to reclaim their identity from what passes as its history, authored by the armchair historians, the Wesern idle nobility that created it. And while the rest of the world is trying to shed the shackles of fake histories, Balkan nations are indulging in hairsplitting over the meaning of their imaginary history. It is clear that Balkans are home to the oldest agriculture in Europe, and is the cradle of three European genome types. In comparison, Greeks came to Balkans but a short time ago --- anywhere between 2,500 to 2,000 BC. And they remained but a tiny minority until the mixing bowl of Dark Ages produced a mixture of native and Greek, producing what was Classical Greece. And in the las two two millenia saw a variety of immigrants leave its mark on Balkan native indo-european world --- tribes from Bug making home in Bulgaria, Roman empire's transport of its soldies and thousands of its unwanted poor into Romania, Roman transit routes that brough today's Albanians from Sicily and Sardinia to Balkan side of Adriatic, and Slavic migrants from Baltics that came under banners of Visigoths and Ostrogoths. Slavs that came as Quati moved into Croatia's rugged Adriatic hillsides, and as Teodoric The Great declared a Lugian Serb leader his bother, welcoming their fleeing kinsman into his ruling domain, today's Serbia. It was but yesterday that Magyars arrived into Pannonia. And some came from far away, Germans and Celts from the West, and Huns, Tatars and Avars from the East. It was only in 10th century that the first German colonists set foot in what is today's Vienna.
But Balkans as a whole remains the space where the oldest forms of indo-european are still spoken, and recognized --- in spite of the layers of liguistic influences of new peoples that made Balkans their home. The contemporary battle of Macedonia shows this supidity in all its glory. Rather then RECOGNIZING that there was life, agriculture, language, customs, religions, etc in Balkans before Greeks stepped there --- Greeks are defening the Greekdom as if it is older then the lands and people they came gradually to inhabit. Such fuss is made over Alexander the Great, his "Greekness", and "Slavs" audacious clams on his origins. Alexander was without a doubt a man that was an epitome of Greek identity and culture. But lest we forget that his father, Phyllip did not speak Greek as his mother tongue. And the people that lived there were not "Slavs", but autochtonous indoeuropeans called by different tribal names, some of them shown continuity from Alexander the Great until today. For example, Alexander fought against Tribali. The same Tribali were mentioned in Roman records, followed by the medieval Greek records. In those writings it was mentioned that "Tribali can as well be called Serbs", as the new names associated with new ruling elites started mingling with old. Tribali ensignia, boar's head and arrow, made it into the era of Dushan The Great, Serbian King. Then it was brought into the emblems of the first Sebian Constitution in nineteen century. Similarly, Macedonian identity may have become Greek, following Alexander the Great's imperial greatness. But it is easy to forget that Macedonian identity existed before the time of glory, and that less glorious existance of Alexander's ancestors --- is just as real.