In April and May 2022, the Serbian DUK festival again played host to a wide array of international artists that came via an invitation to the city of Čačak to leave their mark behind and soak up some of the local culture. For German artist Mone, the company of his Swiss colleagues Robis and Custom meant that the prospects for a good time and lots of painting seemed high.
Prospects for a good time and lots of painting seemed high
Located a 1.5-hour drive from Belgrade, Čačak has been transforming its gray walls with world-class murals for quite some time. Although its troubled and turbulent history is still visible to its foreign guests, the simple way of life and absence of financial surplus is more than balanced out by the warm and welcoming hospitality of the locals, and the positive social interaction amongst the locals.
Transforming its gray walls into world-class murals
Mone recalls his 8 day trip to Serbia and shares a little of his experiences from the perspective of a DUK Festival visiting artist in 2022.
The Wonky Jaw Trip to Serbia
After arrival in Belgrade, we were picked up by Swiss organizer Sigi and driven to Čačak to meet the team behind DUK Festival. In the following days, it was straight down to business as the scaffolding was already on-sight and in place. As was the wall pre-primed leaving no excuses but to open up our selection of Montana GOLD and BLACK cans and get to work. For three days Čačak blessed us with perfect painting weather as did the residents of the building we were painting who offered us every local edible and drinkable delicacy that could be imagined. Including self-made Rakija (Raki) which helped smoothen the creating process.
Wall concept 1- „Uvek na gore (Always up)“ was the motto. Symbolically it represented the land of our host country, which after many years since the war ended had been developing onward and upwards. Other elements made their way into the mural varying from graffiti references to Swiss cheese characters, green lighthouses representing North Germany, and rockets that symbolized rapid development. A mixed bag for a diverse creation.
Wall concept 2- on the 5th day we painted another wall together with the locals. This time the theme was easily adapted around the continual explorations into the consumption of the Rakija drink: Rakija Party The concept played out on the wall and at the end of the day the second dynamic concept mural was done.
On this day a drive to Belgrade was made and in heavy traffic, we managed to see some of the many faces and historical jewels and scars the city had to offer. We saw slums, palaces, and everything in between. In Belgrade at a local graffiti store, we came across an old friend Culum, a writer that we had met before in Russia in 2019.
On Day 7 we actually wanted to go paint at a local legal wall, but the local graffiti shop owner convinced us to stay and paint the inside of his store. Yet another exhibition of the warm hospitality the locals had shown us on the whole trip.
On the day of departure, the flight left Belgrade airport already at 06:30 in the morning, so there were not many activities to do outside the graffiti actions. We were completely exhausted and looked back on an extremely impressive and inspiring trip, full of hospitality and creativity. We are very much looking forward to seeing what the DUK festival has to offer in the years to come.