27 Sep Visit the open-air gallery in the courtyard of Olga Petrov Elementary School in Padinska Skela
During the last weekend of May, artists Barbara Dimić, Kerim Mušanović, Marija Šoln, and Goran Todorović painted four murals in the courtyard of Olga Petrov Elementary School in Padinska Skela, while the fifth mural was a result of collaborative work by the students of the school. The painting of the murals was organized as one of the activities within the initiative Free the Streets/Free the People, whose goal is to promote positive artistic and activist practices in public spaces as a response to the increasing visual contamination in our cities.
The festive atmosphere at Olga Petrov Elementary School was enhanced by the realization of several art workshops for children, as well as education about the history of graffiti and street art. The screening of the film “The Summer I Learned to Fly” which was followed by an exciting conversation between children and the film’s creative team – Jasminka Petrović, the author of the book on which the film is based, Radivoj Andrić, the director, Klara Hrvanović, the actress, and Milan Stojanović, the producer – generated great interest among the pupils and residents of Padinska Skela, filling the school’s hall.
The painting of the murals has been conducted at Olga Petrov Elementary School for several reasons.
“Although formally part of Belgrade, Padinska Skela is nearly 25 km away from the city center, with limited public transport connections. This part of the city is often stigmatized due to the presence of a prison and a mental hospital. It is also important to note that there is no space dedicated to cultural activities in the neighborhood,” said Tamara Marković, the initiative coordinator. She highlighted that the reason for choosing this location was the large number of hate graffiti found on the walls in the neighborhoods along Zrenjaninski Put, which disturbs a significant number of citizens involved in the “Free the Streets/Free the People” initiative.
“We believe it is particularly important to consider the undue influences of such messages on children, in the weeks following two massacres that have disturbed all of us and still leave us in a state of powerlessness and sorrow,” concluded Tamara.
Taking all of this into account, four artistic murals and one collaborative children’s mural were created, all in order to bring art closer to elementary school pupils and convey positive messages about preserving cultural heritage, growing up, unity among people, caring for animals and the environment. Perhaps even more important than the artworks themselves was the interaction between the artists and the children and the discussion about the positive messages that art on the walls can and should send.
As part of the “Free the Streets/Free the People” initiative, a total of 10 murals will be created.