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Bratislav Petkovic, candidate for the post of culture minister, plans to introduce a more patriotic tone to Serbian cultural institutions.
|Soon-to-be culture minister, Bratislav Petkovic | Photo by Wikimedia Commons|
Serbia's ruling Progressive Party, SNS, at the session of its main board, named Bratislav Petkovic, owner of a museum and a small theatre company, as the man in charge of the ministry that will include culture, the media and the diaspora.
Talking about his new brief, Petkovic said that big changes will be made in the field of national heritage and theatre production as part of a wider reform of culture.
"Art has to be patriotic, and that's why we have to activate some people that were previously marginalized, and insist on the traditional values of our nation," Petkovic said.
Petkovic is a theatre director by profession, the author of plays such as "Gran pri", "Legija casti", (Legion of Honour), "Cvetovi zla", (Flowers of Evil), and "Skadar", (Lake Skadar), many of which draw inspiration from Serbian history. He also collects objects connected to the world of automobiles.
Petkovic, who also owns one of the oldest patisseries in the capital, recently became culture advisor to Serbia's newly elected President, Tomislav Nikolic.
Speaking on subject of the National Museum whose permanent exhibitions have been closed for more than 10 years due to delays in reconstruction of the building, Petkovic said that scaffolds need to be removed and the facade washed, "so that at least one department of the museum can start working".
In the long term he plans to move the permanent exhibition to the building of the main post office, a monumental edifice in the centre of Belgrade.
He also announced a few new spaces where national heritage will be presented. The current National Museum may become the Museum of Nikola Tesla, the building of the Presidency may host a new national gallery, and a permanent exhibition of Serbian dynasties may be oppened in the Belgrade Assembly Building. "How many kids today can't list even three Serbian kings?" he noted.
Petkovic also referred to a controversial play, "Zoran Djindjic", about Serbia's late Prime Minister, by Croatian director Oliver Frljic, which has shocked theatre audiences and the wider public since it opened.
"In the theatre we have too many sacred cows that didn't bring a single drop of good to Serbian culture," the new minister said.
"Everything is under their claws... which resulted in the 'Zoran Djindjic' play in Belgrade... That's the worst kind of theatrical scum, dilettantes in every sense," he added.
Petkovic said he was especially offended by the scene in which one of the characters throws up on a Serbian flag.
"If that happened in America, you could go to jail for such a thing, but here, because it is a scene in a play, they call it 'art,'" he complained.
Petkovic concluded that Serbia's cultural management needs a fresh approach, having in mind that "Serbian national confidence is shaken".
It is expected that he and the other new ministers in the Progressive-led coalition government will be sworn in at session on July 27.
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