U L T U R E
THE ART OF THE HOMELAND
What is there, really? Really, what is there?
Two questions and at least two conspiracies with reality;
two real conspiracies. The Osojane Valley, that is, the light
and the shady sides of life. Neverthless, so cloudy and difficult.
What burns and flickers here casts light on nothing; it blinds.
It is the light which hides the biggest darkness, the heaviest
and most painful abyss.
abyss, they say, has begun to take on human contours; those
who belong there, those to whom it belongs have returned.
It is their homeland. Nevertheless, it seems as if they have
returned to a place other than the one they left. This homeland
no longer belongs to them. Are they at home in their homeland
as they were before? They have yet to make it their home and
to grow accustomed to it. For a homeland cannot be simply
settled or colonized; and if it could, then it certainly this
could not be done just by increasing the number of human bodies
in it. Geographic topography and quantitative demographics
have yet to settle here, to develop life and a spiritual topography.
The people here must create their ancient homeland onceagain,
from the beginning. Not just the houses and buildings, the
cemeteries, the churches and the schools but the streams and
the oak trees, the twilights, the groves, the roads and the
paths, the pastures and the meadows must be transferred from
their rough-hewn presence in their souls.
A colony of artists joined this refugee colony
this summer. Can artist colonists be of any help here? Artists
are the paradigms of creation. They shape, educate and build
always from the beginning. Every work is somewhat like a new
homeland. Even though it is always new and original, art is
the ancient homeland of the artist. The ancient Greeks already
gave synonymous names to life and a portrait. Life is a portrait,
shape and form, just as a portrait is really a portrait not
when it merely imitates but when it carries a life of its
own. The ancient and Christian zographos (icon-painter) does
not concern himself with anything false or artificial. He
is not an anatomist; he does not dissect, catalog nor describe
parts. This would be base laboring over dead things. He is,
as his Greek name was literally and correctly translated in
our language, a scribe of life (zivopisac). His recording
of life, however, is no artificial and illusory description
of life. Life cannot be described. It can only be lived or
created. This life-recording life is, like all others, always
at the beginning.
Over there, in Osojane, people are returning to the beginning,
and the beginning is always new - or else it would not be
a beginning. These people need to put down roots once again,
to branch out. This needs to become their home. They need
to return to the very beginning in order to attain their home
and their end. An end does not mean disappearaing and vanishing.
It is the framework which designates the domain of the vitality
of life. These people need to stop being exiles but they will
truly return only when they have stopped been returnees, too
- when their returning has come to an end.
No one needs to ensure their return. No one
needs to work on their return. If the powerful world really
wants to make an effort of some sort, what it needs to do
is to stop obstructing their return. The powerful "dogooders",
profiteers of conflict, must first protect these people who
have taken root in permanent uprooting from themselves, from
their own reluctance. People will truly return; they will
have their home and their homeland only when they can leave
it behind. This is the only way life will return there. A
homeland cannot be abandoned.
Drago Djuric (prevod o. Sava