Exhibition activity

During the decades of work the Homeland Museum of Knjaževac has realized more than a hundred exhibitions. At the beginning they were exhibitions covering certain topics or important events in history, like: “60 years of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, Syndicate and Communist Youth of Yugoslavia” in 1979, “30 years of self-management” in 1980. “Who knows better, let him be” 1787-1987” on the occasion of 200 years from the birth of Vuk Karadžić, “We endured, we resisted, we sieved, we persisted” in 1988, an exhibition related to the realization of the manufacturing a monograph “Knjaževac and its surroundings”, “A century of the press in the Timok Region 1889-1989”, etc. These large exhibitions were mostly realized in the hall of the Cultural Centre since the Homeland Museum of Knjaževac until the opening of the Town Museum had not had an exhibition space.

A large number of exhibitions have been realized with homeland topics, such as “Two-string knitted socks of the Timok” in 1985, “Cultural treasure of the region of Knjaževac” in 1991, “Mediaeval jewelry of the Timok” in 1998 and “The archaeology of the region of Knjaževac in 1988.  

On the other hand, solo and collective exhibitions of numerous artists have been organized, and a special place take the exhibitions of the authors from Knjaževac, such as exhibition of paintings of Sima Žikić, Radiša Milivojević Picasso, Nenad Corelj, Dragoš Jeremić, Darko Dinić and others.

Traditional exhibitions and programs

The Homeland Museum has continuously developed and adapted its program and activities in conformity with new trends in museology and the needs of the public and citizens. And so, 20 years ago by the Museum employees, first of all ethnologist Dušica Živković and a prominent family Mihajlović from Knjaževac, former owners of the first private library after 1948 “Pergam” in Knjaževac, initiated, as it showed 20 years later, a very important cultural event for the town – St. Sava, Children’s Art Salon. The Children’s Art Salon was initiated by an idea to encourage creativity in children, to develop the ability of artistic expression and to, instead of former St. Sava Ball held in the town at the beginning of XX century, organize this Salon as a place and opportunity for the talented children of Knjaževac municipality to be awarded prizes and supported in further schooling. An important issue was the wish to preserve the Orthodox Christian tradition and the spirit of St Sava. In the last twenty years several thousand children of different age have taken part in the St. Sava Salon and about a hundred pre-school, primary and secondary school teachers. A prize system has been established in five categories: preschoolers, pupils from 1st to 4th grade, pupils from 5th to 8th grade, secondary school pupils and individual participants. Very often the jury, composed of the representatives of the town educational institutions, had a very difficult task to single out three best works in each of the categories. For that reason very often special awards were given. Many of the award-winning participants of the St. Sava Children’s Art Salon recognized their talent thanks to this event and chose fine arts to be their future vocation. Some of them went to art schools; some have become academic painters, and became applied artists, architects… In their biographies the St. Sava Children’s Art Salon will take the first place in the list of collective exhibitions they took part in and won prizes. The confirmation of this is the catalogue which accompanies the exhibition from the very beginning. In the catalog, besides the names of the jury members and the list of the awarded children’s art works in the aforesaid categories, there is a list of the exhibited works which represents a wider selection among the works arrived for the competition which is announced every year in December. The St. Sava Children’s Art Salon has fully justified its existence with its duration and quality. Still, it also developed and changed according to the current trends, the needs of new generations and development of artistic techniques and materials. One of the novelties is a separate competition announced as part of the Salon and which is entirely in accordance with its basic concept of preserving the tradition, and which has been initiated by the curator and art historian Milena Milošević Micić. It is the competition for the best Slava cake and is open for both children and citizens. This competition, as the time showed, was an introduction to the teaching of tradition and religious education at schools. Today it is a part of the annual plan of every teacher in Knjaževac. It is known that the competition for the most beautiful Slava cake finishes not later than 24th January. During the last twenty years the St. Sava Children’s Art Salon was also a cultural event the character of which was, besides the municipal, also regional, republic and even international. For twenty years the St. Sava Children’s Art Salon opens on 27th January at 1 p.m.

Another cultural event established twenty years ago by young people of Knjaževac, enthusiasts, lovers of art and culture, people with open hearts and minds with the support of the people from the Homeland Museum of Knjaževac still takes an important place in the town cultural life. The basics of the whole story were created by Suzana Vasiljević, Goran Milosavljević, Marina Novaković, Saša and Aneta Zorić, Saša Milkić, Goran Jovanović and many others. Its name is Evening of the Open heart – day of love and wine, exhibitions of artists from  Knjaževac presented on the 14th February, the Day of St. Trifun and St. Valentine. This event summarizes and reconciles pagan elements, national tradition and Christian religion in a way they already exist and function in everyday life and it does not emphasize either of them. In accordance with this, there was a costume party which is today organized by the High School in Knjaževac for secondary and upper primary school grades. It represents a distant echo of Dionysian Bacchanalia, traces of pagan culture, whereas in Christian culture it is the carnival period from Epiphany to “fat Tuesday” when the Great Lent starts. It is clear that the custom requires that all these activities be accompanied by music, so it was immediately established that the Evening of the Open Heart must be dignified by good quality music. That responsible duty is usually given to some of the numerous bands from Knjaževac, although there were guests from other towns like the performance of VIS Doktori from Zaječar. Still, the greatest credits in terms of music belong to Saša Zorić, and Goran Jovanović, Dragan Ilić Spaček and their numerous friends. And in order to show that their hearts are open, the Homeland museum of Knjaževac and the audience from Knjaževac hosted each year one or several distinguished guests who would exchange their opinions with the people present on the significance and origin of these holidays, the place that love occupies in our lives, which types of love exist, how we show love and share it with others, etc. For this reason this event was often disputed or boycotted by certain fellow citizens.

The distinguished gusts of the Evening of the Open Heart were numerous cultural workers, actors, university professors, politicians, poets, painters, etc. They were Prof. Vlada Stanković, Raša Popov, Milan Lane Gutović, late Dr Zoran Djindjić, Aleksandar Aca Blatnik, Dr Sreten Petković, Dr Goran Maksimović, Dr Nedeljko Bogdanović, Jakša Dinić, Svetozar Tozi Vlajković, Dr Aleksandar Bošković, Dr Petar Paunović, Sima Gušić, Milica Ivanović, Ljiljana Tešanović and many other important people from the world of culture, science and art. The Evening of the Open Heart also changed over the years. Slowly the new media entered the exhibition space of the Museum. Younger generations turned to new techniques, their way of expression changed according to current trends. A number of young graffiti artists, cartoonists and designers appeared. Digital photography is present more and more, many video works and music videos, advertisements, in general, a combination of different media. The number of exhibitors is different every year, and their age is like the one of the readers of ‘Politikin zabavnik’ magazine – from 7 to 107. The Evening of the Open Heart has its trademark. That is a poster called In Love painted in combined technique for the needs of the realization of this event by Dragoljub Sandić, a recognized graphic designer and artist from Knjaževac. In the last few years tasting of local wines from Knjaževac and their evaluation as well as the choice of the couple in the audience who is most in love are organized.