Mladen Hrvanović’s Murals Started The City Of Zaječar Up

Zaječar, June 22, 2009 – Murals painted on the facades of the Centre for Children and Youth with Disabilities and the  City Administration buildings in Zaječar downtown have been presented to the public. The presentation of murals, created by Mladen Hrvanović, an artist, has been attended by Boško Ničić, the Mayor, and Ana Krstić, the Manager of the Telenor Foundation. 

Zaječar has thus become one of 19 cities decorated with murals within the Telenor Foundation’s project titled “Start Up City”, resulting from support to the decision of the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government to grant the status of a city to large towns in Serbia.

The murals in Zaječar depict a teddy bear on wheels, a symbol of last year’s “Silent Society” multimedia exhibition, dedicated to children with disabilities.

“I was inspired to paint a teddy bear by accident, when, coming out of an elevator and realising that I missed the floor where my studio was located, I saw a half-ajar door of an apartment and a four- or five-year old boy behind it. What was peculiar about the situation was the construction of his wheelchair that attracted my attention. He smiled to me and said ‘Good afternoon’, and then went back to his world of silence and invisibility. That encounter made me think how I could contribute to the visibility of these children and adults, who are mainly excluded from everyday life. Children’s ambassadors – toys, dolls and a teddy bear that has wheels instead of legs seemed most suitable,” says Mladen Hrvanović, the author of the murals in Zaječar.

In the last two years, murals have been painted in Užice, Kraljevo, Leskovac, Vranje, Pančevo, Šabac, Loznica, Zrenjanin, Subotica. It is planned to paint murals in several more cities in Serbia.

The “Start Up City” project, aimed at facilitating urban development of municipalities across Serbia and making works of art of local authors available to as many citizens as possible, has resulted from cooperation between the Telenor Foundation and the Contemporary Art Platform Kiosk, with support of local self-governments and company Duga.

“The aim of this project is to revive the local artistic scene and contribute to the decentralisation of cultural production. The Telenor Foundation has been established with the purpose of influencing cultural development of the community where it operates,” said Ana Krstić, the Manager of the Telenor Foundation.

Cooperation between the Telenor Foundation and the Kiosk on the “Start Up City” project was rewarded with the Bizart award, granted by the Ministry of Culture of Serbia, for the most successful partnership of the cultural and business sector in 2007.