The President’s Wife, Ms. Elizabeta Gjorgievska, attended and addressed the opening of the second edition of the International Festival of Children’s Literature and Illustration “Litera” last night, attended the opening of the exhibition of illustrations by the doyen of the Macedonian painting, Dimitar Kondovski.
The organizer of the event, which took place at the National Gallery “Mala Stanica”, is the Center for Visual Communication “Efektiva”.
At the opening of the Festival, Sofija Semenpeeva Trajanovska from the Center for Visual Communication “Efektiva” and Dita Starova Kjerimi, Director of the National Gallery of the Republic of North Macedonia, spoke about Kondovski’s lasting values, but also of the importance of the Festival for our overall culture in the country.
During the event, a workshop was organized for children of different ages where they got acquainted with the works of Kondovski and created their own stories inspired by the works of the great Macedonian illustrator.
In her address to the audience, Ms. Gjorgievska said that stories shape our imagination, but also our value nuclei, and by creating and sharing each of us creates his own world, reshapes his life path depending on the narrative matrix of the story.
Please find below the integral text of the address of Ms. Elizabeta Gjorgievska.
I experience this evening as a holiday that celebrates the two key things that determine human existence from the very beginning: the word and the image.
What is essential for a person is telling, sharing experiences, situations, actions and life stories. Man has always wanted and knew how to record, memorize, archive, construct, shape life through storytelling, because the narrated experience, the story is what lasts forever. There are different types of living forms that survive for thousands of years. But the stories recorded in the history of literature last forever, and we bear witness to them from the Assyrian-Babylonian writings to the present day.
We have all experienced, even in our earliest childhood, that there is nothing more magnificent than getting lost in the narrative labyrinths that literature offers us and from there gaining knowledge and wisdom about what once was, in the past, what can inspire us as an experience in our lives in the present. Through the narrated things, through the centuries to the present, this world with all its virtues and flaws is confirmed and realized, and the noble word that conveys the truths about the different aspects of life is the most powerful tool in expressing all the joys, sorrows, challenges and battles we lead and those who are waiting for us around every corner of the lifeline.
Stories shape our imagination, but also our value nuclei. By creating and sharing stories, we become participants in building a world that will be better or, not so good, depending on which story we choose to be our important storytelling matrix. We, with our experiences, with our stories, build our home, our life, our community.
But, as tonight’s exhibition of illustrations by one of our most important artists, Dimitar Kondovski, shows us, and as contained in the mission of this Festival, the word, which is at the heart of the story, creates strong and powerful images, which are equal to a new language, which upgrades and enriches what the word alone cannot express and signify. Looking at Kondovski’s magical, surreal illustrative language, it can be seen that with the joy and sincerity of a child, hidden in the wisdom and miraculous gift of an adult, he approached the literary-illustrative challenge. It is a big responsibility for anyone trying to get into a child’s imagination. Our great Kondovski, with his illustrations, manages to expand the set boundaries of the literary form and theme, and thus to open new spaces and move the horizon of the cognitive fantasy offered as an experience of the word.
Illustrations are the key part of the story. They, and especially those of Kondovski, contribute to the expansion of the literary imagination. And most importantly, they give the children’s imagination a chance to sail in the free zones of life, which, unfortunately, adults forget. The illustrations of what the word says are crucial in shaping the world of the child, but also of the adults. They are a guide that explains life in a way that to be actually remembered. They also shape us.
Every story begins with an act of imagination. Therefore, it is important to support and encourage storytelling through words and images. Words create images, images evoke words. At a time when the word is increasingly devalued and loses its meaning, there is a danger that the images will freeze and disappear. But, life without pictures is actually just a shadow.
I am honored to have the privilege tonight to be part of this endeavor that celebrates at the same time the inseparable bond of the word and its reflection in the image and the illustration, and I am especially honored to learn about this important literary-illustrative journey through the sensory phantasmal worlds of Dimitar Kondovski, who enriches the literary treasury with a new value.
What makes me even happier is that through the fulfillment of Kondovski’s decades-long wish to organize an exhibition for children, for which I congratulate Litera, I recollected my childhood and thank you for reminding me again of Zoki Poki, Alice in Wonderland, Uncle Tom’s Cottage, The White Gypsy and many other books that remain in me as part of some wonderful times, and thank you, dear friends, for your attention.