Sinisa Kovacevic:”Fans of reality shows are easiest to manipulate”

“Culture should not be an election campaign topic, nor an election promise,” noted the Serbian Literary Society (Srpsko književno društvo) in its recent public call for a discussion on culture.

Encouraged by the invitation of this association representing the Serbian cultural world, Danas daily has decided to ask some of the most prominent public figures five questions about culture, cultural policy, relations with artists and cultural workers.

We asked Sinisa Kovacevic, playwright, director and cultural advisor of the presidential candidate Zdravko Ponos, not what artists can do for their country, but what the country can do for them.

“In our country, culture is deliberately suppressed, in the name of general simplification and primitivization. It’s easier to manipulate people who watch reality shows than those to frequently go to libraries, and this is something that the Serbian government counts on. First, put culture back where it belongs. Respect the work and talent, the eternity and beauty of what remains behind the creators. By changing the economic model and enriching the whole society, life will be better for writers, actors, painters, dancers…” Kovačević says.

Do you believe that artistic work and cultural work in general, is adequately paid? What would you do to improve artists’ financial standing?

“Unfortunately, no job in this country is adequately paid. Neither a doctor, nor a truck driver, nor a professor, nor a miner, nor a scientist do well, so it would be illogical if the artist’s talent and work were adequately rewarded. This has to do with a country’s economic potential, and it would be unfair and unhealthy for only artists to live comfortably, but it also has to do with the status of the culture in general in this country which has been deliberately suppressed for reasons of general trivialization and primitivization. So, what can we do? First, we need to put culture where it belongs. We need to respect work and talent, the eternity and beauty of what remains behind the creators. By changing the economic model and enriching the whole society, we will make it better for writers, actors, painters, dancers….”

How would you resolve the status of independent artists, both in terms of earning opportunities and decent pensions and the right to medical care?

“There are elite professions, such as sculptors, conductors, writers, set designers, costume designers, actors, etc., which will never find permanent employment. Does a country or a city need a good poet or sculptor? It certainly does! An artist will do more for the promotion of their city than a footballer. These people must be supported. For instance, a fantastic collection of poems will forever bear witness to a certain time and their poems will be included in anthologies and will be read. However, if a book of poetry is sold in only 2,000 copies, the poet will not have enough money to live a dignified life. All small nations provide scholarships to their artists, like Iceland, Norway, the Czech Republic… If a novel is sold in hundreds of thousands of copies, like in Germany or Russia, such assistance is superfluous and unnecessary.”

Do you know of good formats that could be a good example to Serbia’s cultural policy?

“It’s a combination of the Norwegian and Russian formats. As a small nation, the Norwegians are working a lot on promoting their films abroad. Also, the government pays for the translations books and buys a huge number of paintings and other works of art from artists. In Russia, artists are highly respected. When a writer or an opera singer dies, the country has a day of mourning.”

(Danas, 24.03.2022)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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