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News 05 Sep 17

Remed to Paint New Mural in Serbia's Second City

Artist Guillaume Alby 'Remed' has announced his return to the Serbian city of Novi Sad to do another mural, after the previous one was mysteriously painted over.

Maja Zivanovic

Mural artist Guillaume Alby, known as Remed. Photo: Facebook/Remed.

The French-born mural artist Guillaume Alby, known as Remed, whose works are displayed across the world, has told BIRN that he is on his way back to Novi Sad in northern Serbia, where would have liked to do something different on the same surface that was erased.

He added, however, that he will instead honour a proposition to paint it on a small building that has become an alternative cultural centre for Novi Sad.

“Yes, I am coming back, in answer to the invitation of Novi Sad. The mural is smaller and I don't know what it will be, but I hope to find something that can inspire,” Remed explained.

Remed’s now erased mural, painted in 2009, depicted a monster puppeteer moving two human figures who are cutting their strings, liberating themselves from it.

The mural was suddenly painted over on March 16, two days ahead of a rally of the ruling Serbian Progressive Party in Novi Sad, shortly ahead of the April 2 presidential elections.

The President – formerly PM – of Serbia and head of the Progressive Party, Aleksandar Vucic, is often referred to as “the puppeteer” by the opposition.

However, Remed says he was unaware of those connotations.

“The visual just came to me while playing with proportions. I followed my intuition. I was not aware of the politico-social situation in Serbia when I created the visual,” Remed pointed out, adding that the mural had a very universal and timeless message.

“Anywhere in the world, where lines are drawn on maps, the story is the same,” he said.

The erasure of the mural angered some of the locals in Serbia’s second city who in protest painted a penis on the blank wall the following day.

The following morning, this drawing was also painted over, but the same pattern was repeated on March 18 and 19.

On March 19, activists in Novi Sad gathered for a protest and to demand that the city authorities, led by the Progressives, explain who painted over Remed’s work and why it was done.

The city authorities claimed they had no idea who painted over the mural. Remed says their identity is not interesting.

“The identity of the eraser is not the main point. Who did it is who had the power to. Someone afraid by hope, will and creativity of each individual. The reason is probably to maintain the veil over one’s potential truth. It may be an attempt to discourage people from finding their own way, building their own perspective through the experience of life,” he said.

Following the reactions of people of Novi Sad, he decided to return on September 11 and to “leave a glimpse of the wisdom of love in the city, hoping it will inspire people”.

Asked whether the new mural was likely again to “disturb” someone, he underlined that he had never meant to "disturb" anyone before.

“But the world is made of all perspectives, so it could happen,” he conceded.

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