Zorica Zafirovska
“Grow Me, Water Me, Caress Me”, 2021

The video tries to document the “urban, domestic and abandoned gardens” in the hidden parts of the city, and at the same time record and map visible and invisible activities related to the importance of plants, nature and clean air in the city of Skopje. This work is part of the author’s extensive research and moves on the border between activist documentary and devotion to nature. It directly intervenes in reality and the goal is to avoid aestheticization in order to emphasize states and visions. The author’s need to map gardens and parks, their construction and maintenance stem from her urge to be part of their development and life, to be part of real change and participate in building the common good. It deals with the problem of practice, i.e. how we work, what we do, how we are involved in reality, and how we change it. The author sees the video as a format where she tries to mark and give space in the public field, as well as emphasize the multi-generational community of work, love, care and support. She talks about caring for a community as an activity that is outside the neoliberal discourse where caring becomes a commodity exchange. She talks about caring, love and support as a prerequisite for building community and communality.

The video is a 30-minute documentary showing “gardens of love, care and neglect” filmed at several locations around the city: Novo Lisiche community garden “Bostanie”, Shuto Orizari municipality primary school “Brothers Ramiz and Hamid”, part of the “Gjorche Petrov” barracks in the Dame Gruev municipality, the park on the left of the Parliament building, Bunjakovec municipality, the area close to the primary school “Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi” in the municipality of Centar and the park-forest Vodno.

In addition to the visual representation of the urban “organized and spontaneous” gardens, the video includes several interviews with Tanja Istinski, Ljube Serafimovski, Dimitar Samardzhiev and Aleksandar Mitrevski, who shared their experience and opinions about community gardens, opportunities for their development and sustainability in the city, the integration and participation of the citizens and the problems and challenges they face in terms of maintenance.

The video includes Irena Jovchevska, Aleksandar Sandrevski, Kiril Shentevski, and Aleksandar Nikolovski, and other participants in the building of the community garden “Bostanie” – a project of The Green Ark that supported the realization of the video.

Zorica Zafirovska holds a bachelor’s degree from The Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius of Skopje. Since 2011 she is a Ph.D. candidate in cultural studies at the Institute for Social Sciences and Humanities “Euro-Balkan”. Her work as a visual and conceptual artist involves a spectrum of research concerned with contemporary socio-political topics, such as human trafficking and homelessness. In her home town Skopje and elsewhere, she does mostly site- and time-specific installations and small actions, that rely on critical approaches of presenting her work. From 2008 member of F.R.I.K. (Cultural Development Association Formation) from Skopje. In 2009 with 13 artists they co-founded Art I.N.S.T.I.T.U.T. an artist group and artists-run space in Skopje, and in 2011 together with 6 women they co-founded artist’s initiation MOMI. In 2013 she initiated The Space, art project in Skopje, and becаme a member of Jadro. She has over 10 solo exhibitions and projects in North Macedonia, Greece, New York and Germany.

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Lokomotiva supported the development of three contemporary artworks by the local artists Zorica Zafirovska, Oliver Musoviс and Filip Jovanovski.

By using different media, the artists in their works are referring to particularly important topics related to ecology, seen as a dynamic category of interconnected ecological, social, democratic, as well as cultural processes of everyday life. The works explore and deal with the public space, environment, urban planning of the city and the right to decide on special planning and development of the environment in which we live. The works include research, documentation and artistic presentation of green areas, from the planning of the urban greenery and afforestation as part of the urban policies and the spatial planning to the civic grassroots initiatives for development of urban gardens in certain neighborhoods and quarters.

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The video is developed as part of the project “Programme of Lokomotiva in Kino Kultura – project space for contemporary performing arts and contemporary culture”, which is funded by the City of Skopje, and part of the Other Spaces programme of the project ACT: Art, Climate, Transition, co-funded by Creative Europe.

Video recording, 30 min.

Concept and video realization: Zorica Zafirovska

Editing and visual support: Angela Manevska

Narrator: Zivko Grozdanoski

Transcript: Marija Kovacheva

Proof: Nena Nikolikj

Photo: Sofia Grigoriadou

Poster: Violeta Kachakova