Alan StannersArtist statement

‘Umwelten Gap (Oakworm Moth)’ and ‘Umwelten Gap (Silkworm Larva), are two new paintings created for DRAD that aim to confrontnarratives’ relating to cultural radicalisation. The diptych attempts to complicate a conversation around otherness by using the insect kingdom as a metaphor for difference. Our aversion to insect life is largely cultural and fueled by their alien appearance and conflicting reputations. Why does one type of moth inspire beauty but another anger?

Umwelt, the world as it is experienced by a particular organism, and the environmental factors that collectively, are capable ofaffecting the behaviour of that animal or individual, is a German term loosely translated as ‘self-centred world’. Often the reputations of insects come about due to their perceived intrusion into the human world. We watch with awe, the complex lives of insect populations on nature programmes like Planet Earth, yet we seek to expel their presence when they make home in our clothes.

With these paintings I hope to broaden our shared horizon and draw interest away from our own Umwelt and the inter-human conflicts located there and onto our shared environmental necessity to understand, protect and restore natural biodiversity.

In the last 27 years, global insect populations have fallen by 75%. This rapid decline poses a catastrophic and existential threat to thestability of our planetary ecosystem. A world that works for insects is one in which humans have to put aside their own short-term self-interest. Having a shared ideological purpose is what I believe breaks down the barriers of otherness and difference.

'Umwelten Gap (Oakworm Moth)’
'Umwelten Gap (Silkworm Larva)'
Frances Ryan | Artist Statement

Frances Ryan’s works speak to instances and experiences of social isolation, and how these can be challenged by everyday interactions and collective engagement with others at micro and meta-levels. Each individual work speaks to and wages an impact on the other works – creating an overall narrative that is greater than all of the individual parts. The series of works juxtaposes both negative and positive viewpoints, illustrating the various ways a situation can be grasped by different people depending on their circumstances. The overall message here is to demonstrate that there is no single narrative with an endeavor to highlight the importance of listening and offering a space to others so that they would feel that they belong. This ultimately instills an awareness that they have something to offer to their community.

The references to football in some of the individual pieces relate to a small local football club formed to help men tackle obesity and mental health issues. The activities around this club is the underpinning inspiration for many of the works displayed. Weight stigma can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and can leave individuals feeling isolated and withdrawn from their family, friends and the wider community. This would make them prone to a negative belonging as a feeling of exclusion becomes rampant amongst them.  Football in particular and team sports in general offer to those with feelings of exclusion a space, where individuals can convey their representative identities and experiences to each other and foster social interaction with those holding similar narratives to theirs. This subsequently builds joint narratives. The series of works in Ryan’s art illustrate the potential for groups and organisations that bring people from very different backgrounds together to make better and more positive collective futures and challenge the negative effects of social isolation and grievances attached to weight stigma in return.

The repeating of certain motifs and images within the pieces namely ears (hearing/listening), mouths (smiling/talking) trophies (rewards/recognition) and everyday activities (team sports/walking/eating) gives reference to various mundane everyday activities in which we also participate, though they can lead to feelings of isolation and also belonging. 

The occasional texts that appear in the overall work, the terminology used, and the titles given to individual pieces portray the seemingly innocuous utterings, often spoken in the guise of ‘well-meaning’ but which can actually lead to isolating and stigmatizing others. The purpose here is to make us think of the impact of our own everyday activities: the things we say/do and listen to and how the ways in which we receive/consume information may affect our own sense of what it means to belong.  The works should encourage us to examine factors  at play within our own lives and the impact that our actions may have on others whether deliberate or not.


Definitions of self and others have significance as they are tied to rewards and punishment (which may be material or symbolic), to the prospect of benefit or loss as a consequence of identity claims as well as the stigmatizing of others. Here we have the trophy, a reward, a moment in time, and a memory made. We have the glimmer of a smile, a momentary offering of warmth and compassion – and a perceived opportunity for belonging. The bustling activity around the ear and the smile refer to how things can be lost in translation due to the noise of everyday life and highlight the importance of active awareness within our interactions with others.

‘Man of the Match’

This piece reflects on the individual within a team and how the support of a team/a community can bring out the best in an individual. The smiling footballer shown within the silhouetted figures and the little flash of colour lighten the atmosphere in this otherwise dark piece. The two shapes of the cut-out figures at the front could relate to the team members not yet recruited and hence could be missing out on the sense of belonging, friendship, support and community that the team offers. This could refer to those feeling isolated, and distanced from the main community, who may then find comfort and a sense of belonging elsewhere.



‘New Paths’

The mark-making in this piece is intuitive and expressive, and the trophy is the reward whether it is within the team where we feel we belong or in the reward of a feeling that we have the space to be and to not feel suffocated. The title offers a sense of hope and of choice, but also how our emotions and the way we feel can be key to the decisions that we make as individuals.

Stefan LukicArtist Statement: ‘By your side’ 

The bridge should be a strong symbol of connection. They should connect two shores, two continents as well as two parts of a city. Having said that the Kosovska Mitrovica bridge separates two nations that is, Serbians and Albanians. On top, these people have lived together for centuries and continue to live together in other places in Serbia.

The bridge as a place signifies a date and a time. It is both liminal and perennial. On the 22nd anniversary of the division between Kosovo and Serbia, Stefan planned to run the bridge 22 times from one side to the other to symbolize the 22 years since the bridge lost its function of connecting Kosovo and Serbia. Also using GPS, he scribbled out new imaginary borders. Hence, and by using running as an act of activism, Stefan aimed to intervene in this separation to remind us that the bridge connects people rather than separating them. In a way, Stefan’s act of running becomes the bridge at the face of the actual bridge having lost its function.

Amidst and thanks to his activism, the bridge becomes devoid of its function as a border making “Stefan ne zna za granice!” (Stefan does not know about borders) his manifesto. However, Stefan could neither run over the bridge 22 times, nor could he place his manifesto over the bridge. The Police stopped the artist’s performance on the sixth attempt repeating that in 22 years no one has run across the bridge.

Stefan was not hindered but looked for another symbolic location to state his activism. To antagonise the nationalist reaction in Serbia to the nationalist make-up of Kosovo, Stefan took his activism to Kosovska street in Belgrade. He then re-created the very space that he was rid of on the bridge at the heart of Belgrade and freely ran over his manifesto “Stefan ne zna za granice!” in a town which otherwise has been branded with nationalism over the years. Ultimately and with a pinch of puzzlement, he used the street as a space to bring people together even if the bridge itself fails to deliver its mission between the Albanians and the Serbs.

Veljko Vuckovic | Artist Statement

Veljko’s works are two small format paintings made specifically for these occasions. With these pieces, Veljko explores the rather imposed and made up coherence within the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with a pinch of humour and through the prism of seeing how that led to radicalisation and the explosion of Yugoslavia at the end.

Radicalisation is a phenomenon in which people accept opinions, views, ideas and attitudes, that could possibly lead to friction, extreme actions, and at times terror. A number of different forms of violence can originate from ethnic, religious, local and regional conflicts. In the case of Yugoslavia, as a victim of terrorism, on the one hand, Yugoslavia forged its opinion on international terrorism by signing all international conventions related to stopping and punishing those that aim to participate in terrorist acts. On the other hand, Yugoslavia was also a country that was somewhere between totalitarianism and authoritarianism and reached out to terrorism itself with the goal of preserving its own political regime as it fought for its unity.

In Veljko’s exploration of the medium of painting, he deals with the problem of using pre-existing visual imagery as a starting point. In this case, the point of departure for these artworks are photographs taken from a Tito monograph from 1971. One goal that the former Yugoslav president for life (until his death in 1980) achieved, was overthrowing of the nationalist ambitions within the constituent republics along with his devotion for harmonious unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. However, even though he was confident in his courageous leadership and was often apprehensive when it came to nationalist tendencies and the danger that they can create, ethnic pressure was present in the Western Balkans for centuries. Besides that, religious and similar practices were often restrained under communism in this region, which continued during the Yugoslav Wars in the ‘90s.

The first picture shows Tito, a charismatic leader, who has been much less blamed than any other headman known for his authoritarian reign, working on a turning machine (he has been working in a number of factories throughout his life). It is based on a photograph that Veljko chose, thinking that it could be a metaphorical or a symbolic image. Turning is a material removal process – a machine rotates at a high speed while a cutting tool that is fixed removes the material, producing different shapes. However, after the work on the selected material is finished, no matter how careful, precise and detailed the treatment of the matter was, the surface of the material will never be perfectly smooth. It will remain rough and filled with cracks and unevenness. In addition to that, the spectator can see that the machine is under stress and starting to blow up, indicating that the process is not going too well. Even though Tito had been working for decades on further developing and perfecting the country he led, Yugoslavia was never impeccable and had a number of flaws. The imperfection of any material after the turning procedure could then act as a counterpart to the socialist country’s flaws, especially within the social structure. It could be connected to Tito’s everlasting fear of nationalist tendencies.

While the first painting is completely black and white, the second one is in colour. Both artworks are painted using a traditional technique – oil on canvas – and are equal in size. The second picture features Tito meeting with his associates. In the monograph that Veljko has used, the exact reason behind their meeting is not specified – which allows him to re-contextualise the image – something that has been a dominant characteristic of his work in general so far – by resurrecting the information that he absorbed from other media. Through the use of photography, Veljko is interested in creating paintings that are ambiguous and that can provide wispy social and political associations. Therefore, it is possible for this picture to move through a number of different contexts. If we take a look at this painting through the prism of de-radicalisation, we could assume that the leader and his helpers are working on their plans and aiming to solve a number of their problems, one of them perhaps being social concerns. For example, how to prevent a number of different radical acts that could be a result of a feeling of disturbance or a general unrest, or how to deal with disruption, widespread turmoil which has already taken place, (or terrorism), and put an end to it, no matter what the method is. The ultimate solution to these or any other case, as brought up earlier, could even be using terror as a means to settle discontent caused by Yugoslavia again by Yugoslavia itself. Regardless of the fact that Tito and his associates put a lot of effort into and united the countries in the Western Balkan region, there were many difficulties in maintaining this concord and alleged harmony. Even though de-radicalisation has grown in popularity in the 21st century, particularly after the September 11 attacks, we might assume that back then, Tito and the most powerful figures in Yugoslavia have used certain methods similar to deradicalization to root out unwanted attitudes and behaviours. It is possible that some of those approaches themselves were radical and controversial, leading to a number of conspiracies. Some of these methods might even have been violent. Ultimately, the intention behind the inscription on the picture is to further contextualise it through the perspective of deradicalisation.

Both photographs have been scanned and then altered before the act of painting – they are digitally rearranged and edited in a number of ways. This artistic gesture comprises of digital media, but in its last stage, it includes materiality, which gives us an opportunity to call it post-digital.

State Control oil on canvas, 50×50 cm, 2022
All Hands on Deck oil on canvas, 50×50 cm, 2022
Stevan Tatalovic & Alejandro Scott | Artist Statement

“9th May” is a visual interpretation of the poems of Stevan Tatalovic where we slowly descend to the depths of where an outcast wonders about his place in the world. At the same time, 9th May symbolises Victory day and group societal optimism, however on the individual level, emptiness, isolation, grievance and alienation. Alone and forsaken, this unnamed man stands to represent those who live the consequences of history- the displaced, unrooted, and unattended. We place our line of sight next to his, we look out of his window and imagine with him, what life could be like if he had not been born who he is.

“9th May” lyrics (by Stevan Tatalovic, translation Vesna Stamenkovic): 

In the book, in italics, without quotation marks, I use verses from:

Aleksandar Sekulić, Majstori u kući 

Paul Celan, Fugue of Death, English translation by Pierre Joris

Other poems referenced in the text itself


On the door to the attic space there’s a sign with our Balkan surnames

Each letter cut out of collage magazines

Each letter in a different color, like an anonymous threat note

Us, children of incessant labor

Having a hard time finding a place for provisionally living

Kingdom of Sweden in the years of crisis became the owner of an exemplary democracy

Selling stocks in bulk at the stock market of unfree citizens

Selling socialism to the capitalist reality, radicalization of free square meters

Accompanied by the reduction of communal spaces

Educating the illiterate, adequate punishment

I understood that the journalists followed the money trail, but the only thing they found

were the broken mind maps of a private owner

That day someone finally kidnapped the tycoon’s children

White slaves, exchange market

The ransom bag filled with underwear

Packed by Mari Kondo

Transported by Wolter White

State owner that I am thinking of now is gray haired

Driven out of confinement in an electric-powered vehicle

The Dogma of labor is in the excessive simulation

The resolution of our time lies in incessant negotiations

Jobs are meaningless, fake precarity of unfounded doubt in taxes and contributions

Us, children of incessant labor, licensed our specializations

Capitalism shall always find the ways to justify made-up professions, as well as the costs

Of construction and every other inspection, tax collectors, building managers, election

Committees, notaries and enforcement agents, municipal police, king’s guard,

All those souls that showed up at the door with our surnames on it and entered without knocking

State of Emergency of the modern history is measured through the contributions to the public budget for private pockets

Collective heart attack

That is resolved every time

With no urgent intervention

And electric shocks

In Sweden it is as cold as you please

I rock from the third floor

Carrying a crutch

I hang on to the railing

Inhaling the smoke from the nearby bakery through the communal space

Ventilation was invented after the war

As well as a singing man

Free Europe was waiting for the Marshall’s evacuation plan, which got there late

Malmo was designed based on a child’s drawing

Wishing well to everyone

Drinking straws are chimneys

Main street was named after the red syndicate

Side streets after the newly formed green ones

Underground trains fly towards the windmills

Wind parks remain at sea

We bridge the gaps created by friction

Some say that Dick Cheney liked Danish pastry

If there wasn’t for him, there wouldn’t be a crisis in Venezuela, nor refugees from the Middle East

The price of bread went up again in Serbia, where the highest number of loaves per capita is consumed

This says a lot about the purchasing power,

Nutrition values and capita

Someone told me that Omčikus painted bread because he was hungry

For his exhibition the whole town smelled like bread

I was nostalgic for art in diaspora

Malmo was attacking

White bread warfare was raging in Sudan

After thirty years of despotism the people rose up over a couple of loafs

The protest caused by bread grew into a state of emergency

Because bread wasn’t thrown to the people from fear they’d starve, but from fear they’d bite

Construction workers at my place still eat half a loaf of hard flour bread,

Same loaf they threw at us twenty-five years ago

They cut it longwise and fill it with two hundred grams of baloney and Dijon mustard

Norwegian Salmon

French cheese instead of Zdenka

They fill up their already full stomachs with German beers from poem number seven (0.7)

Schengen works without limitations

We enjoyed our freedom of choice

Ate shrimp, picked vanilla ice-cream

Strawberries from Spain

Cherries from Cyprus

Chocolate from Belgium

Prunes from Portugal today

Without borders

Black milk of dawn we drink you at night

we drink you at noon we drink you evenings

we drink you and drink

Workers take days off

They rejoice the free days like school children

Workers, workers, who called you

The one from Yemen complains

How he had more days off in Yugoslavia than in the European Union today

I never managed to count that high

In the beginning of industrialization, hired labor was considered undignified

Malmo celebrated the Champions’ League with two-colored balloons.

They drive me to the hospital, lying in a Saab caravan

We, children of unwanted labor

Don’t always wear protective gear

Lying in hospital in one night I mastered all necessary skills

I urinated in a bed pan

I gave myself an injection

I drew my own blood and became an informed third party

Crossbreed surprised by this new world I’m discovering and not understanding.

Serbian Translation

Deveti maj 

Na ulaznim vratima u tavanski prostor zalepljena su naša balkanska prezimena

Svako slovo isečeno iz kolažnih magazina

Svako slovo drugačije boje, kao anonimna preteća poruka

Mi, deca neprestanog rada

Teško nalazimo mesto za privremeni život

Kraljevina Švedska je tokom godina krize postala vlasnik primerne demokratije veleprodajom tržišnih akcija na berzi neslobodnih građana

Prodajom socijalizma kapitalističkoj realnost, radikalizacijom slobodnih kvadrata

Koje prati redukovanje zajedničkih prostorija

Opismenjavanje nepismenih, primereno kažnjavanje

Razumeo sam da su novinari pratili trag novca, ali jedino do čega su došli jesu isprekidane mape uma privatnog vlasnika

Tog dana neko je konačno kidnapovao decu tajkuna

Belo roblje, tržište otkupnina

U torbu za otkup složeno belo rublje

Spakovala ga je Mari Kondo

Prevozi ga Volter Vajt

Vlasnik države koga u ovom trenutku imam na umu ima sedu kosu

Iz pritvora ga izvoze autom na struju

Dogma rada nalazi se u prekomernoj simulaciji

Razrešenje našeg vremena leži u neprestanim pregovorima

Poslovi su bez smisla, lažni prekarijat neosnovane sumnje u poreze i doprinose

Mi, deca neprekidnog rada, licencirali smo svoje specijalizacije

Kapitalizam će uvek naći načine da opravda izmišljene profesije, kao i troškove rada građevinske i svake druge inspekcije, poreske uprave, menadžera zgrade, izborne komisije, notara i izvršitelja, komunalne milicije, kraljeve garde

Svih onih duša koje su se pojavile pred ulaznim vratima sa našim prezimenima i ušli bez kucanja

Vanredno stanje savremene istorije meri se kroz doprinose javnom budžetu za privatne džepove

Kolektivni srčani udar

Koji prođe svaki put

Bez hitne intervencije

I elektrošokova

U Švedskoj je hladno kako kome odgovara

Klackam se sa trećeg sprata

Nosim štaku

Držim se za gelender

Udišem dim pekare iz susedstva kroz zajedničke prostorije

Ventilacija je izmišljena posle rata

Kao i čovek koji peva

Oslobođena evropa čekala je Maršalov plan evakuacije, koji je stigao kasno

Malme je dizajniran dečjim crtežom

Koji svima želi dobro

Slamčice su dimnjaci

Glavna ulica nosi ime crvenog sindikata

Sporedne ulice imena novopečenih zelenih

Podzemni vozovi lete u pravcu vetrenjača

Vetropark ostaje u moru

Mi spajamo pukotine nastale trenjem

Neki kažu da je Dik Čejni voleo dansko pecivo

Da nije bilo njega ne bi bilo ni krize u Venecueli, ni izbeglica sa Bliskog Istoka

Hleb je ponovo poskupeo u Srbiji, gde se jede najviše vekni po glavi stanovnika

To govori mnogo o kupovnoj moći

Nutritivnim vrednosima i glavama stanovnika

Neko mi je rekao da je Omčikus slikao hlebove jer je bio gladan

Ceo grad je mirisao na hleb na njegovoj izložbi

Imao sam nostalgiju za likovnom kulturom u rasejanju

Dok Malme je spopadao

A rat belim hlebom vodio se u Sudanu

Nakon trideset godina despotizma narod se pobunio zbog nekoliko vekni

Protest uzrokovan hlebom prerastao je u vanredno stanje

Jer hleb nije bacan narodu iz straha da će umreti od gladi, već iz straha da će ujesti

Majstori kod mene i dalje jedu pola vekne T-500

Iste one vekne koje su bacali i nama pre dvadeset i pet godina

Rasecaju ih po dužinu i napune sa dvesta grama milano salame i Dijon senfom

Norveškim lososom

Francuskim sirom, umesto Zdenke

Već napunjen stomak dopune nemačkim pivima od 0.7

Šendgen radi bez ograničenja

Uživali smo u slobodi izbora

Jeli račiće, birali vanilin sladoled

Jagode iz Španije

Trešnje sa Kipra

Čokolada iz Belgije

Suve šljive iz Portugalije danas

Bez granica

Crno mleko zore pijemo te noću

pijemo te izjutra i u podne pijemo te uveče

pijemo i pijemo

Majstori uzimaju slobodne dane

Raduju se neradnim danima kao đaci u školi

Majstori, majstori, ko vas je zvao

Jemenac jadikuje

Kako je bilo više neradnih dana u Jugoslaviji nego sada u Uniji

Nisam uspeo da izbrojim toliko

Na početku industrijalizacije, najamni rad se svuda smatrao nedostojnim

Malme je slavio ligu šampiona dvobojnim balonima

voze me položenog u bolnicu saabovim karavanom

mi, deca nepoželjnog rada

ne nosimo zaštitnu opremu uvek

ležanjem u bolnici za jedno veče savladao sam sve potrebne veštine

mokrio u gusku

dao sebi injekciju

izvadio krv i postao upućeni treći

melez začuđen novim svetom koji otkrivam, a ne razumem