Michał Siarek: Alexander

As part of ŻUBROFFKA International Short Film Festival, we have the pleasure of inviting you to an exhibition.

Michał Siarek: Alexander

exhibition opening: December 5th, 2018, 6:30 PM
Foyer of the Forum Cinema, 5 Legionowa Street
Q&A sesssion with the artist: December 5th, 2018, 7 PM
Fama club, 5 Legionowa Street
free entry

“Alexander” is a documentary focusing on the relationship between politics, history and culture in the construction of national mythologies of (the former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a country with no formal name, entangled in a conflict about a heritage so ancient that it’s almost unreal.

“One of the first things I saw in Skopje was the 25-meter monument of Alexander the Great, one of the most powerful conquerors in history and the father of the nation. Macedonia broke away from the war-stricken Yugoslavia with not a single shot fired, only to immediately plunge into a dispute with its neighbour concerning national symbols. The Greeks argue that Macedonia has no right to its name as Alexander, his family and ancient Macedonia were Greek, so any claims are seen as an attempt to appropriate the Greek heritage. The conflict, ongoing since the early 90s, blocked Macedonia politically and economically. When matters appeared to take a turn for the better, Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of Macedonia, announced the program of reconstruction of the country, drawing from the ancient roots. The “Skopje 2014” project was to show everyone, especially the Greeks, that Macedonia is a proud everlasting country, which is so much more than merely ‘old’.

New edifices and monuments were to extend the historical narrative by over 2000 years, intertwining facts with images, but the recordings of conversations between the Prime Minister and his Ministers that were made public revealed that it was nothing but a smokescreen, while the increasingly radical government raised concerns about citizens’ safety. The central focus of the transformation, the figure of a triumphant Alexander the Great on horseback, had become a problematic and expensive symbol.

Despite the peaceful revolution and the change of the government in 2017 and resumed negotiations, the conflict with Greece has remained unresolved. The proposed new name of the country, Republic of North Macedonia, was initially approved by the parliament in Skopje but it is still unclear whether the Greek government will definitively ratify the agreement, putting an end to the 27-year conflict.”

Michał Siarek (born 1991) – a documentary photographer interested in geopolitics, history and national mythologies of the countries of Southeast Europe. Graduate of the National Higher School of Film, Television and Theatre in Łódź. Winner of The New East Prize (UK) and FIDAL Youth Photography Award (FR). “Alexander” is his debut project.

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Michał Siarek – Alexander

BOK Białostocki Ośrodek Kultury