While Waiting for Better Times

while waiting for better times
TV Screen shoots showing some of the media coverage of events related to the so-called political ‘bombs’ (the wire-tapping political scandal) in Macedonia.

The project ‘While Waiting for Better Times…’ is a growing archive of A4 sized coloured ink paintings, depicting the most prominent protagonists (international and local politicians, political analysts, freedom fighters, activists and journalists) and the events of the political scene in Macedonia, since the so-called media ‘Bombs’ were ‘launched’ by the opposition party, in April 2015.

The ‘Bombs’ are a series of secret recordings of private discussions between various government ministers of  VMRO DPMNE (the right wing party), the leading party in government at the time. The wire-tapping scandal, released and revealed at the time by Zoran Zaev (the political leader of the largest opposition party, currently the new prime minister), claimed that there was widespread interference by the government and secret services with the judiciary, media and urban-planning processes in the country, as a means of maintaining power, manipulating the media and public opinion, as well as protecting widespread corruption, allegedly undertaken by various party members.

The ‘Bombs’ were presented in a form of regular Press Conferences, where Zaev publicly emitted the audio recordings or private conversations that allegedly proved the recent wrong-doings of key figures of the political establishment in Macedonia at the time, many of whom have been ousted from their positions as a result of the information contained in the ‘Bombs’ being made public. The public was shocked by the content of the wire-tapping, which revealed manipulation of most of the processes related to governmental institutions and the notion of good governance.

In the same year, Macedonia requested International assistance and a series of mediated talks between the leaders of the various political parties, led to the so-called ‘Przino agreement’, which amongst other things, requested for a special judicial body to be formed, in order to independently examine and prosecute the individuals involved in the political manipulations and corruption. Even today, in 2018, the process is still ongoing, thus the project ‘While Waiting for Better Times…’ is likewise continuing.

During the time of the ‘Bombs’, the whole nation was ‘numbed’ with shock at the revelations, eager to understand the complex and disastrous circumstances into which the whole nation was lured.

The paintings which comprise the project ‘While Waiting for Better Times…’ are simple and fast drawings, made in front of the TV, while the artist watched the news or other related programs on the TV screen. The content of the paintings presents politicians campaigning or engaging in public debate with regards to the specific circumstances contained within the political ‘Bombs’, including the reaction of the media, the reflections of political analysts or the ensuing public gatherings (be it for or against the government of the time). Most of the paintings portray the faces of individuals appearing in the media, scenes which in certain ways reflect the political situation and circumstances in the country, often including short texts (referring to quotes from the relevant media programmes). These texts which the artist found to be relevant, have been written onto the paintings. The texts range from sentences essential for understanding the political climate of the time, to statements that are utterly absurd and which serve to illustrate the levels of manipulation and wrongdoing.

Some of the paintings were published, at certain time intervals, on informal media (facebook, etc.) during the announcement of the ‘bombs’, with the intention of easing peoples’ fear that was caused by the political instability and ongoing repression, that was characteristic of the previous regime, which held society in its clutches for over a decade.

In the meantime, the leading party VMRO-DPME lost its position in recent elections (2017) and the opposition leader Zoran Zaev, the initiator and the public face of the ‘Bombs’ affair, has been named Prime Minister of Macedonia.

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The artists in the studio (photo from newspaper feature)

Ink paintings
Coloured ink on paper, 30×20 cm each.
April 2015 – ongoing

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 1, 2015

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The Red telephone used during the TV News by Telma TV presenter, in order to symbolically show that TV Telma will not accept their news to be manipulated or under direct censorship by the government or any other institution. Text: ‘…ring…ring…ring…’

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 1, 2015

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Painting 1: Prof. Gordana Siljanovska in Telma TV interview about students’ strike and Student plenum which published statement urging citizens, students, teachers, members of political parties to join the second student march against reckless reforms in the higher education.
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Painting 2: Prof. Biljana Vankovska in Telma TV interview about students’ strike and Student plenum which published statement urging citizens, students, teachers, members of political parties to join the second student march against reckless reforms in the higher education.
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Painting 3: Prof. Gordana Siljanovska in Telma TV interview about students’ strike and Student plenum which published statement urging citizens, students, teachers, members of political parties to join the second student march against reckless reforms in the higher education. Text (quoting unrelated words from the news-real): ‘…flight in the place…objective responsibility…bombs go away with a wind…’
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Painting 4: Prof. Biljana Vankovska in Telma TV interview about students’ strike and Student plenum which published statement urging citizens, students, teachers, members of political parties to join the second student march against reckless reforms in the higher education.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 2, 2015

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Painting 1: The building of the national TV in Skopje, while General Stojance Angelov(active as a general during the civil conflict in Macedonia in 2001) and his supporters were protesting for the freedom of the media in Macedonia in front of the building.
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Painting 2: General Stojance Angelov (active as a general during the civil conflict in Macedonia in 2001) and his supporters protesting. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…We deserve as citizens to hear opposition leader on the National TV…’
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Painting 3: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the supporters group called ‘Mothers of Macedonia’, scene when they are stopped by the police, in front of the door of the TV station. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…Stop…stop… ladies, mothers – they will not let us in…’
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Painting 4: Protest by General Stojance Angelov  in front of the National TV station, with the supporters group called ‘Mothers of Macedonia’, scene when one of the protestants facing policeman in full protection garment. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…You are our children…’ as shouted by the protestant.
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Painting 6: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the supporters group called ‘Mothers of Macedonia’, scene on of the protestant being pushed out by the police shields.
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Painting 6: Protest by General Stojance Angelov in front of the National TV station, with the supporters group called ‘Mothers of Macedonia’, scene on of the protestants shouting. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…They are our children, they will not hurt us…’.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 2, 2015

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Zoran Zaev, the opposition leader (currently Prime Minister), with a group of his collaborators and bodyguards, walking toward the building of law and justice in Skopje.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 3, 2015

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A newly proposed design of the park in the city center, the design comprises of planting the new palm trees. Due to inadequate weather condition in Macedonia and need for large budget spending in order to maintain the plants, they are seen as undesired, but at the same time due to large spending related to the plants, planting of those trees could be potentially used for institutional money laundering. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…Palm threes will be planted in the ‘Woman park’ in the city center, between male sculptures in the park…’.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 3, 2015

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Painting 1: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party at the time), where the Party leader Nikola Gruevski and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. Gruevski, addressing the supporters of the party from the middle of the stage.
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Painting 2: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party at the time), where the Party leader Nikola Gruevski and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. Gruevski, addressing the supported from the stage, in the background large screen featuring Macedonian flag.
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Painting 3: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party), where the political leader and the most of the governmental ministers were present. Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska and Minister of the defence Gordana Jankulovska (most strongly criticised during the wire tapping scandal). Text from the speech of the Minister of the Culture. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…I do not know why MP B. is not proud of the artistic values of her own country, … cultural values, for which we should all have a common respect. I will say that the projects are implemented, it has been done a lot and the numbers and the facts speak for all those successes by our artists, realised in home and in world. We as a Ministry of Culture, as before, same in future, same in Government will give serious and great support to our artists….’.
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Painting 4: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party), where the political leader and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. The audience, with the flags of individual cities and villages, representing the cities support of the party.

 

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Painting 5: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party), where the political leader and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. Gruevski talking to the crowd and the governmental ministers. Minister of Culture Elizabeta Kanceska-Milevska and Minister of the defence Gordana Jankulovska and Gruevski’s wife in the first row. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘..‘This is Macedonia, we are not afraid, This is Macedonia and we fight for it with our actions, people see our work, it is our true face…’.
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Painting 6: The first public gathering of VMRO-DPMNE (leading party), where the political leader and the most of the governmental ministers were present. The gathering organised as an answer to the alleged ‘bombs’. Party flags covering the roof of the sport arena, where the meeting was held.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 4

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Painting 1: One of the Press Conferences,  in which the audio ‘bombs’ are announced, while members of the opposition party stand stand next to Zaev, leader of the opposition party, while listening to the ‘Bombs’ audio material.
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Painting 1: One of the Press Conferences,  in which the audio ‘bombs’ are announced, while members of the opposition party stand stand next to Zaev, leader of the opposition party, while listening to the ‘Bombs’ audio material.

 

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Painting 2: Portrait of Radmila Sekerinska, a high representative of the main Opposition Party, SDSM (now Minister of Defence). Portrait made from the Tv screen, during the press conference when the wire taped material was exposed.

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 5

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Painting 1: Stevo Pendarovski, high representative of the opposition party at the time (currently National Coordinator involved in Macedonia joining NATO) in the TV interview for TV Nova.
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Painting 2: The interviewer Biljana Sekulovska, journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…Why your political party refuses to participate in the protests in front of the National TV station…’. presented in the paintings above.
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Painting 3: The interviewer Biljana Sekulovska, journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online.
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Painting 4: The nail-polish of the interviewer from the TV Nova Biljana Sekulovska. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…How the saga with printing of the fake passports will end? The passports printed in the private homes..!‘.
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Painting 5: Stevo Pendarovski, member of SDSM, opposition party at the time, says (text taken from the news-real):  ‘…There are two ways in this catastrophic situation: 1. The street 2. Political agreement. and clearing of the election lists…’.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 4

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Aivo Orav Head of the EU Delegation to the Macedonia. Text on drawing (taken from the interview): ‘We are here to help your country on the path to EU, but we must see that you truly want that’.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 5

Amdi Bajram, Member of Parliament, leader of the largest Roma Party, publicly discussing in an interview with SITEL TV about the alleged audio ‘bomb’, in which Gordana Jankulovska, the Interior Minister of the Government of Macedonia, openly refers to the Roma citizens with the derogatory term ‘Gypsies’.

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Text on drawing (taken from the interview):
‘90% of Roma Parties are in collaboration with the leading Party’
‘TV interviewer Dragan Pavlovic Latas: Minister Jankulovska addressing Roma citizens as ‘Gipsy”, Mr Bajram, are you ‘Roma’ or ‘Gipsy’? Bajram: until 1971, we were called Gipsy….since then we are called Roma…Referring to us Gypsies is not that derogatory…Minister Jankulovska was voted by 25.000 Roma citizens…’

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 6

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Ramadan Ramadani, political analyst, representative of the Albanian minority. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…Albanians will protest if SDSM do not share any audio recorded material that reflects them…’.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 7

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Iskra Gesoska, cultural worker and face that was appearing in the media as direct opposition to the governmental doings. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…There is a tendency of a threats and it has become our manner, we live under blackmail, we give a power to other to govern …’.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 8

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Zoran Stavrevski, ex minister of Finance, day before his proclamation that he will leave the Minister position due to the health problems. The detail showing tired and worried eyes.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 6

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Painting 1: TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, one of the leading supporters of the VMRO party, including the TV SITEL, station that he works for.
Opening scene of the TV News before the beginning of the news, when the light are of.
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Painting 2: TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, one of the leading supporters and promoters of the VMRO party, starting the TV News on TV SITEL, station that he created, and that supported the leading party, avoiding to screen any other news than promotional of the leading party. Portrait of Latas, always wearing stripy tie and coloured shirts.
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Painting 3: TV presenter Dragan Pavlovic Latas, one of the leading supporters and promoters of the VMRO party, starting the TV News on TV SITEL, station that he created, and that supported the leading party, avoiding to screen any other news than promotional of the leading party. The portrait of Latas, as the News starts and the studio is lit by the lights.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 7

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Painting 1: Borjan Jovanovski,  journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online. Text (taken from the news-real):  ‘…Within 30 days the case should have been started. That is a rule, every case is started within 30 days, it the time is prolonged, it is questionable…’, referring to the time passed since the first ‘bombs’ have been aired  in which number of criminal actions have been pointed out and there is not judicial answer to those allegations.
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Painting 2: Borjan Jovanovski,  journalist from Nova Internet TV, a channel that aired opposition’s points of view, a TV which has not been permitted to be aired as a TV channel, but presented news and interviews only online. 

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 8

 

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Painting 1: Albanian minority party leader Alia Ahmeti, as he arrives to the door of the American embassy. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…Arrived and did not made any comments at the American embassy…’ 
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Painting 2: Albanian minority party leader Alia Ahmeti, as he arrives to the door of the American embassy. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…and he left without giving any comments…’ 

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 8

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////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 9

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Singing the A B C D of democracy. The protests in the front of the National TV station in Skopje Macedonia, supporting the freedom of speech and freedom of the mediums, where number of TV, film, music celebrities were part of the demonstrations. Singing Ana Kostovska and Irena Ristik.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 8

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Painting 1: Uranija Pirovska, Director of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, in a TV discussion. Text (taken from the news-real): The Government should be example for the citizens.  You hear from the Ministers, how they address people, calling them Gipsy, Shiptar… that can not be accepted. Do not tell me… private talks… They are Governmental officials, from the way they talk we see they attitude toward vulnerable groups. So just because they are vulnerable and weak, lets abuse them. You can not think ” I have an attitude, I was broth up like this…” – You are a President or Commissioner.. you are Ombudsman of Republic of Macedonia…’. (Pirovska referring to the content of the bombs ‘Bombs’ and how in them the officials are referring to minorities.)
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Painting 2: Uranija Pirovska, Director of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, in a TV discussion.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 11

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The image of the House of Parliament in Skopje Macedonia, the interior, showing empty seats, as during the announcements of the bombs, the quorum was difficult to reach.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 12

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Nikola Gruevski, in the front, in the back Mile JanakieskiMinister of Transport and Communications in the cabinet of Prime Minister Gruevski. Text (taken from the news-real): ‘…Those are totally false and fabricated allegations. that I have apparently bought building lots and that I suposedlly own any plots…’  (Gruevski referring to the content of the bombs ‘Bombs”.)

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 9

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Painting 1: Nikola Gruevski, ex Prime Minister and VMRO DPMNE leader (leading party at the time), walks toward Przino Villa, place where the agreement about the future of Macedonia was made in 2015.
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Painting 2: Nikola Gruevski, ex Prime Minister and VMRO DPMNE (leading party at the time) leader in the middle, Johannes Hahn, Commissioner at the The Juncker Commission, on the right and other Ministers and journalists, in the press conference at Przino Villa, moments after the the agreement was made.
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Painting 3: Johannes Hahn, Commissioner at the The Juncker Commission, in the press conference, moments after the meeting about the future of Macedonia was finished. Text (taken from the news-real) Journalists asks: ‘…Will everything you asked for be implemented?’.
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Painting 4: Petre Silegov, Member of the opposition Party, now new Mayor of Skopje, publicly presents point of view by opposition Party SDSM.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Individual Painting 13

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Nikola Gruevski, Ex Prime Minister addressing the nation in one of the numerous TV screenings from the House of Parliament.

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 11

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Painting 1:
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Painting 2: The NGO CIVIC initiator Xhabir Derall addresses different mediums in relation to

 

///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// Episode 12

TV NOVA discussion ‘Justice on the street’ screened on 06.03.2017

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