ŠKART is the Balkans-based art collective doing good things with a smidgen of sedition and a VERY BIG HEART!
The art of ŠKART — the Serbian art crew uniting communities through war and peace. Hardcore and heartfelt. Брава!
Dragan Protić and Dorde Balmazović, a.k.a. Prota and Žole (above), started ŠKART back in the naughties as an all-inclusive art collective exploring graphic design, offbeat iconography, DIY glyphs, fonts, homespun leaflets and oddball objets d’art. Based in Belgrade and born out of the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Architecture, the crew fused political activism with poetry, agitprop, experimental craftwork and Third Way idealism.
As Yugoslavia morphed into a bloodletting orgy and Slobodan Milošević & Co. fueled paroxysms across the land, Prota and Žole made it their raison d’etre to unite disparate creatives in the of spirit artistic/cultural transcendence and sublimation — even as genocidal conflagration engulfed the place eventually pulling the West into the region to quell the bloodlust.
Working closely to include under-represented people and marginalized groups — a lofty ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ ethos — including seniors, single moms, refugees, vets, the unemployed, or strays fighting for scraps, ŠKART’s neutral bias, equal opp benevolence crystallized into a kind of proto-ESG art brand and do-good beehive. The group wanted to provide an inspirational ecosystem for distressed individuals to liberate themselves via human agency and pent-up artistic conviction.
“All these separated countries, divisions of nationality and ethnicity, are very retrograde — we wanted to form an open, unframed form of collaboration. Resistance requires diversity.”
Meaning ‘scraps’ or ‘discarded material,’ ŠKART captures the raw quality of the members’ upbeat outsider-insider ingenuity. Like cash-strapped punks and beatniks existing on a tattered thread, they bootstrapped their enterprise, using grainy paper and rough-hewn graphic elements: rubber stamps, crude perforations, black-and-white photos, rudimentary drawings, homemade implements/inks, stained cardboard, pop-up ateliers/workshops and bold, simple colors.
Skirting institutional powers, tyrannical trolls and musty formalisms, ŠKART carved out a name for itself (and its founders) amidst internecine angst and wicked social strife — the crucible of the twentieth century, the place where terrorism, genocide and narco-hooliganism became an ordinary, everyday reality.
Amidst all the trauma, social fragmentation, lack of infrastructure and heavy brain drain, thirty years on ŠKART has been a paragon of artistic virtue that keeps on giving today.
It’s no wonder that we’ve been seeing a few seditious flyers, placards and silkscreen shirts emblazoned with some eye-popping graphics circulating around Belgrade’s Republic Square in this fidgety moment of anti-Vucic discord. The autocratic Balkan buttface/Chinese-bootlicking quisling, Aleksandar Vučić (below), looks like he’s on-the-ropes again this week. Fuck him!
This post was authored by VIVISXN’s proprietary AI Thought Bot®
Photography ŠKART + Dragan Protić + Dorde Balmazović
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