I still keep the card that Jelena Markovic gave me when we first met. It says:
Film and TV Director
I understand that in such a small piece of paper we can only write the essential informations that we want others to remember, but as I got to know her I realized that her artistic skills go much further than her chosen profession (although Film and TV Director does sound glamourous). Jelena expresses her perspective about the society in which she lives as well as her impressions on everyday life using all forms of art that she can reach. She writes, not only her scripts, but also poetry, prose and essays, both in her mother tongue, serbian, and english; she photographs, she also draws and recently she started developing the technique of collage, with impressive visual effects. For her, art has no boundaries, and she is not afraid to dive into the unknown. That’s one of the features I most appreciate in her, because i particularly dislike boundaries, frontiers and all physical or mental devices designed to keep people apart and diminish their freedom of movement and expression.
A committed artist, Jelena works with the purpose to reach an audience, but she does so in a very subtle way, so that we, her audience, may immediately feel attracted by her art productions, but only slowly will realize our their deeper meaning. I remember that, the second time that I watched her documentary Connections, I was amazed with the amount of details that had escaped me the first time. The same happened with some of her poems, and then with her collages.
I consider myself extremely lucky to have a person like Jelena Markovic as my friend. Jelena always welcomes me to her home when I go to Belgrade, and the first time I ever drank turkish coffee it was Jelena who prepared it for me. It is also a privilege and a pleasure to observe her work progressing and to discuss mine with her.
On my last stay in Belgrade, after we concluded our deep research on our favorite saint, Sveti Sloba, I invited her to join me on my blog. We then decided that it made more sense that each of us should have its own blog. Friendship allows intimacy, but also requires a certain distance, and anyway blogs are nowadays our best presentation cards so it’s better that they are individual. This is how Café Turco’s sister blog, Invisible Sights, was born.
I believe Invisible Sights is a blog worth visiting, not because Jelena is my friend, but because there we can find a cosmopolitan, uncompromising perspective on serbian society and life in Belgrade that may be very helpful to help deconstruct the prevalent stereotypes about Serbia. It is not only an artist’s blog, but really a citizen’s blog. Serbia being a country where culture was and still is so widely exploited by nationalism, I am sure that those people who think it is worth supporting the development of a civic culture in Serbia will find her blog appealing.
On the photo: Jelena drinking turkish coffee (my photo).