Epic SerbiaIn tribute to our ancestors
The light in the age of darkness
Epic Tale of Strahinich Ban
Our first book is a translation of the famous Serbian epic Strahinich Ban into English.
It is lavishly illustrated by Zhana d’Arte, a young and talented artist with roots in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Germany.
She created 9 paintings with oil on wood to capture the spirit of medieval folk art especially for this book.
Strahinich Ban is my first project for Epic Serbia. We decided to translate, illustrate and publish Strahinich Ban our initial venture because it is one of the most beautiful epic poem from Serbia.
When I read the poem, so many emotions overwhelmed me that I was unable to decide how my illustrations should be like, how they could possibly convey what I see in this epic.
At the same time I was listening to a special song of Mizar. The song focussed my emotions, thus helped me decide how to arrange the illustrations for the book.
A last inspiration was a movie version of Strahinich Ban, which cleared up my mind, helping me further to come up with my first scribbles.
For some months Nikola Tesla’s theories occupied my thinking, especially his theory of the numbers three, six, and nine. He held that these numbers are the key to the universe. As I understand it, Tesla’s theory about these numbers is that they form a special harmony, a frequency of the universe. It is the frequency of love, it sounds like love. In my view.
Please see the book as a sign of love connecting the universe with man. See it as something positive, a book full of hope, connecting us all.
The idea stuck with me and I incorporated it into my work for the book; three illustrations are different from the rest.
All my paintings for Strahinich Ban play within a frame but those three reach out of it as they are more then mere illustrations of the story. They connect the imminent, personal story told to the wider history of the era and to basic phenomena encountered by humans everywhere and anytime:
- Number 3, the old woman with the headscarf is a symbol for misfortune and death.
- Number 6, the naked young woman is a symbol of innocence and trust.
- Number 9 with the skulls is a very special picture, it harks to the future, tells of hope and love.
These three pictures are indicating things which will happen as well they are leading imagery of the story. In Serbian folk imagery the falcon is a symbol for a hero, thus I painted three of them representing our three main characters, the heroes of our song: Andjelija, Ban, and Vlah Alija. Watch out for the number key of 3-6-9 in all the paintings, their particulars and structure throughout the book.