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Artist Maja Djordjevicis calling for World Peace 

by HQ

Over the past year, London-based artist Maja Djordjevic has been experiencing considerable anxiety and a growing sense of powerlessness.

Like many of us, she has felt as though she has been watching the world fall apart. Following in the footsteps of trailblazers before her, such as Bob Marley, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the artist naturally turned to creativity as a way to externalise these emotions, and to imagine what true peace, equality and restoration might look like. Her newest series, titled ‘HOPE AND REBIRTH’ and on view at Carl Kostyál in London, contains her powerful message; encased within the six paintings on show is a call to drop arms and hold one another’s hands instead. 



This idea is best exemplified by ‘We Sympathise! We Do!’ (2024), a bold and graphic work that sees a line of Djordjevic’s iconic, nude female figures – a character she affectionately refers to as “My Girl”- standing arm in arm. Simple yet impactful, this piece recalls the motifs often used in campaign posters for liberatory movements spanning periods and geographical locations. In the absence of a specific slogan, the piece becomes a universal symbol of togetherness while inviting the viewer to embrace not only the artwork but also the individuals around them.

Another work on show is inherently reminiscent of Eugène Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’ (1830); ‘I Fear There is No One to Save Me’ (2024) features a single girl triumphantly waving a Peace Lily as if it were a white flag. In evoking Delacroix’s masterpiece, a grand French history painting commemorating the July Revolution of 1830, Djordjevic’s piece becomes a timeless meditation on freedom from oppression. By recalling a noteworthy people’s uprising, and allowing her girl to subsume the position of Lady Liberty, she invites modern audiences to consider the forces to which they are subjugated while reminding them they can break free.

Both these entrancing paintings are exemplary of Djordjevic’s unique artistic approach; she fuses narratives predicated on the strength and resilience of women through the ages with a distinctly contemporary and postmodern aesthetic. Inspired by the legacy of deskilling and net art, Djordjevic’s works are painstakingly rendered by hand after digital images created on software akin to MS Paint. Without the aid of tape or projectors, the artist meticulously paints each pixel with oil and enamel on canvas. The resulting pieces have an inherent sheen, appearing as much like a digital screen as they do a traditional painting. In this way, Djordjevic’s work can speak to modern audiences in a language they are familiar with while sidestepping the potentially exclusionary aspects of ‘high culture’. In allowing her work to appear as if it were an image on a screen, something that might have magically appeared on anyone’s laptop, she achieves immense reach beyond traditional art audiences, while also adding something entirely new to the legacy of feminist figuration. 

As would be expected of such an innovative artist, Djordjevic has garnered significant attention over the past few years. She has presented solo shows with Dio Horia Gallery in Tokyo and Taipei, alongside appearing in group exhibitions at the Arsenal Contemporary Art in New York and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne. Her boldest and most confident show to date, Maja Djordjevic’s ‘HOPE AND REBIRTH’ is a veritable must-see. Created against the backdrop of past and present incidences of war and genocide, inequality and prejudice, ecological devastation and rampant consumerism, each powerful piece on show at Carl Kostyál in London possesses the unique ability to enliven viewers’ dreams of a brighter future.

Writer
Bella Bonner-Evans
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