Dear Art Lovers, Good Evening!
A century and a half ago, the great Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky wrote: “Beauty will save the world”. A century later, analyzing this thought through the painful experiences of World War II, the Holocaust and the Gulag network, the one-minded dissident Solzhenitsyn asked: “When in bloodthirsty history did beauty ever save anyone from anything. Ennobled, uplifted – yes – but whom has it saved?”
Going through these years of pandemic, we can build on these issues. How much does beauty protect us from the acute threat of the virus? Can beauty bring back lost lives, broken dreams, missed perspectives? How will it compensate for the economic damage, how will it solve the environmental problems, how will it correct the deep social injustices? If even the most powerful on the planet succumbed to these challenges, how can beauty save the world at all?
But, dear friends, the paradox of beauty embodied in art and culture is that it is an inexhaustible source of hope for a better world, even when it depicts the greatest suffering, the violence against the helpless or ugly faces of people. Authentic art offers us hope both as a personal and as a collective phenomenon, encourages us to seek the truth and embrace goodness. As a critic of all apparatus and systems of power, art encourages us not to put up with abuses and not to remain silent in the face of injustice. Even when ignored or banned, art finds its path between people, nations, languages and cultures, expanding the space for a world with a more human face.
In order not to sink into despair, the world needs beauty. Along with the liberating truth and ennobling goodness, it can reconcile people, alleviate their pain, connect generations, and give new hope to humanity. And that is more than we need in everyday life filled with gray nuances.
For already 61 years this institution has been providing space for top creations of thousands of artists from all over the world. It is the artists who are the true guardians of beauty, and thus witnesses that the hope for humanity exists. This year, when we celebrate 30 years of independence of the Republic of North Macedonia, we launch our most prestigious international “Ohrid Summer” festival with 90 Macedonian artists whose qualities pair those of the most famous world names.
It is my pleasure, with this statement, as the Patron, to declare the Ohrid Summer Festival open.