Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – For a while, I’ve been curious about the world of modern tapestry and wanted to experience it firsthand. Atelier 61’s work processes have caught my attention, and I see the Tapestry Colony. As it is just one aspect of the Tapestry Center’s versatility. Recently, I had the chance to witness the art practice during this year’s Colony of Tapestry artists. Even though at the moment I had other work to attend to. However, I couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by. I’ve been keeping up with Atelier’s posts and have decided that Friday. Because it seems the penultimate day is the perfect time for me to be there in person.

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The guests: stand Slađana Milojević, on sit Brankica Žilović, Anna Olsson, Dragan Zdravković, Maria Bramasole, middle front Nemanja Milenković; their lady hosts, far right Teodora Ž. Janković and Sonja Boruš.

Actual 15th Colony, such as the first, held in 1998, gathered different generations of fine artists. Here they are to explore the concept of tapestry, but now on an international level.

Atelier 61 organizes Colony for the first time in its new space, Gallery 4, Creative District. The place was previously popular as “Chinatown” among the locals of Novi Sad). As you step into a cool air-conditioned hall, you find respite from the scorching heat outside. You’ll see all artists in the spatial hall, working in improvised studios. Participants have designed autonomous ateliers to work independently. But still have the option for visual interaction with their colleagues if desired.

Selection of participants in the 15th Colony 2023.

The 15th Convocation of the International Tapestry Colony “Boško Petrović” in Novi Sad, organized by “Atelje 61”. The Art in Residence lasted from Monday, June 19 to Saturday, June 24, 2023. The Atelier Art Council invited six artists from the Country and abroad to participate. Brankica Žilović-Chovin is a visual artist from Paris. Then, Maria Bramasole, a textile designer, and a visual artist from Belgrade. And from Belgrade too, textile painter Slađana Milojević. Nemanja Milenković, a painter living and working in Novi Sad. As well as Dragan Zdravković, a painter and professor at the Belgrade Academy of Arts. And finally, tapestry artist Anna Olsson from Gothenburg, Sweden.

Showing sketches, discussion, and agreement in principle with weavers

I had the opportunity to join and observe the work on tapestry cardboards. First time for me and the first and key stage in the tapestry process. This year marks the 15th International Colony A61. Also the 25th anniversary of the program that promoted creative and aesthetic reflections within the contemporary tapestry medium since 1998. Resulting in the enrichment of the National Tapestry Collection of Serbia, the city of Novi Sad, and “Atelier 61”.

The colony began with a meeting between the hosts and guests. When artists presented and explained their ideas in sketches for tapestries. Both artists and weavers discussed concepts and refined them through comments. Then, we analyze the author’s ideas and solutions about their feasibility. A principal agreement was reached with the weavers as potential co-authors at Atelier 61. I hear among participants, the work methods are tentatively possible.

I have already mentioned in detail the benefits of the artistic community of the colonies. But this time I got to know the participants and tried to understand the spirit of each individual’s work. I`ve got the impression that the creative act is individual but also very sensitive to the interweaving of artistic experiences.

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Here left, the recording from the beginning of the Antarctic is just a hint of the idea for Brankica Žilović’s work. She is probably thinking aloud while developing the plot in the presence of Nemanja Milenković, her accomplice in Colonia. But in the right photograph, her steady hand with the brush pauses, so the artist seems to be in deep contemplation.

Brankica Žilović Chovin, Serbian and French visual artist from Paris

Born in Serbia, graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, then the École Nationale Supérieur des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Today, her visual art is a special phenomenon in the French and European art scene. Since 2004, she has been creating an authentic manner based on the traditions of women’s handicrafts and the folk connection of Serbia and the Balkans. Traditional roots as ongoing changes are impressively expressed in contemporary artistic language. Lives and creates in Paris, related to the Contemporary art of embroidery, installation, multimedia, painting, and drawing. B. Žilović teaches at academies in Paris and Anjou. She creates highly appreciated artworks, developing art projects with galleries and museums in France, Serbia, Europe, and the USA.

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Brankica Žilović, New pathways [Embroidery on fabric, threads. Wall installation. 2020]

This artist creates intricate tales of a world in flux, evolving identities, and nostalgic recollections using yarns, fabric, threads, and fibers. When asked about her process, the artist explained, “I enjoy exploring both traditional textile techniques like hand tapestry and innovative methods like wall installations.”

The works are large-format textile wall installations in the techniques of loops and hand embroidery, as well as smaller soft forms made with embroidery on canvas, paper, and books… She belongs to the group of contemporary artists who invent countless ways of artistically shaping fabric, yarn, and thread. How the artist weaves her stories about the changing world, different identities, and memories? And its processings combine futuristic concepts with the techniques of hand-woven tapestry and textile installations. Starting with the Pangea cycle, the artist develops ideas within the subtle relationships of her personal and socio-political geography. Fragile web textile bodies develop by combining techniques of unique artistic expression.

MS Žilović discussing her work with coauthors and Zoran Bulatović, head of Atelijer 61

Tapestry Colony – Artwork Variations of the Worlds, Antarctic, 2023.

At this year’s Colony, B. Žilović chooses for the concept of the tapestry the subject “Antarctica” from her current cycle Variations of the Worlds. During all five days, the artist has been hand-painting a paper sheet for the Antarctica cardboard. Meanwhile, she agreed with the weavers who will later perform the work (on the left in the photo) Vera Lazić and Jelena Božić.

I was curious about the motivation and meaning behind the artworks at the Colony, so I asked the artist for her thoughts. The piece is titled Variations of the Worlds, Antarctic, 2023. measures 240×240 cm. According to the artist’s answer, the focus is on cartography and humanity’s relationship to the planet it inhabits. Antarctica is a metaphor for the whole world, symbolizing its fragility and erosion. The eyes in the piece represent human imagination and the potential for new creations.

The entire day that I spent there. Wandering among their creative islands, I observed their mutual reactions to the points of art. Or listen to their casual comments sometimes, even paying attention to me. All these experiences have influenced the presentation I am currently writing. Leaving the Creative district near the Danube, artists have moved up to the Fortress with rolls of tapestry cardboard. For the next last day of the Colony, they still need to select all the yarns for weaving the tapestries.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Maria Bramasole, textile designer and a visual artist from Belgrade

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Maria Bramasole, a textile designer, completed her BA at the Faculty of Applied Arts, in Belgrade (Serbia), in 2015. The MA at the University of Arts and Design in Linz in 2018. Member of ULUPUDS. The author of 9 solo exhibitions and participant in over 60 group exhibitions in Serbia and throughout Europe. Awards: The Annual award of ULUPUDS, 2022; Awards enable her further artistic development (Mikser Festival 2018; Dossier Project: Artist, Creative Factory, 2017; The Dositej Fund (Serbia), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Austria and the Austrian National Union of Students.

In this expansive area of impromptu studios, I spent a considerable amount of time with Maria Bramasole. She meticulously painted the intricate details of a large white paper, talking to me about her aspirations in art, which include capturing impressions from various environments. Despite her youth, she has been searching for an artistic and personal identity for quite some time. While I normally share my perspective in my posts, I will refrain from doing so when it comes to this group of unique artists, especially M. Bramasole. Instead, I will provide her with a carefully crafted statement, as the rest of the information is unnecessary.

A quote: “My Art explores intersocial relations and Human Psychology through visual and audio perception. Multimedia artworks focus on textile installations and digital art. Drawing inspiration from how we observe the environment, communicate, and exist, I capture frames or translate the words of my philosophy into visuals through structures, textures, objects, and movements. Particularly proud of multi-year projects related to the accompanying programs of the Venice Biennale.”

The artwork is titled La Dolce Vita 2023.


Just as Marcello Rubini in the same-titled film sails through the social and cultural landscape of Rome in the 1960s, Bramasole, sixty years later, translates it to the socio-ecological and psychological relief of society today. According to social ecology, nature protection requires the creation of new social structures that balance relationships between people and nature rather than individual actions or ethnic consumerism. However, the artist behind Bramasole believes that changing society starts with the individual who starts.

The artwork is a tangle of threads that symbolically confronts reflections and transformations. It combines three previous phases: Black (hell), which represents our troubles such as worries, fears, and memories; White (purgatory), which is an endless space where we can question ourselves and create our truth; and Pink (heaven), which indicates that nothing is impossible. The form is in a whitish space that allows creation, saturated with gray and dark tones representing our pains, fears, and expectations. The heart form resembles a shape inviting us to care for ourselves and move towards change by talking with our being and soul.


Veins stretch at both ends, connecting heaven and earth, indicating that our roots are not only on the ground but also in the clouds. We should listen more often to the whispers of our hearts. These roots also allude to nature that struggles to survive due to human behavior. We can’t survive under unnecessary pressures and norms because we live on someone else’s expectations instead of our own.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Sometimes pink shapes as “sweet pains” of life

Pink shapes peek out from under the gray, swimming through all forms and eventually rising to the surface with the hope that we will learn to navigate the paths of our truths by courageously listening to our hearts. This will allow us to do good to ourselves, others, and the nature we inhabit. Pink moments remind us that our soul hides various beauties and sweet chapter endings, even when it doesn’t seem like it. The emphasis on the journey is more important than the outcome itself, even when difficult, depending on how we observe the transition through life lessons. Sometimes, even difficulties seem to be “sweet pains” in retrospect.

Maria Bramasole injured her leg the day before the closing of the Colony. For this reason, Organizers postponed the co-authorship of the performance and the selection of the yarn for her, until she recovers. I am sure, messages from Maria Bramasole`s tapestry will touch the soul of the viewer, just as those left me with the raised existential questions.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Slađana Milojević, a textile painter from Belgrade

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Slađana Milojević, mostly famous for her exquisite silk paintings, creates using several techniques, including batik, shibori, and contour paste. Those wearable pieces, such as scarves, are not just fashion accessories but also works of art resemble with sculptures and spatial installations. Slađana’s unique style reflects her linear designs featuring wide black lines and perfectly painted fields with a beautiful gradation of colors and values. Her other designs focus on painterly notes and explore materials, textures, and colors. Using textiles as a canvas, Slađana transforms natural symbols and motifs into mesmerizing works of art.

Atelier 61 addresses an invitation for the Colony, to the painter to explore her handwriting in a new artistic setting. After trying it out several studies, she opted for a piece with bluish batik framed in earthy colors. She spontaneously explained that the challenge of transferring batik, a textile technique, to rustic wool weaving aligned with her interests. She enjoys experimenting with various textile techniques and incorporating them into her art. And here she is almost finished next to the tapestry cardboard the title, “Swirling Blue” with a brush and a sketch in her hands.


The swirling blue tapestry cardboard by Slađana Milojević, 2023.

The artist chose dimensions for cardboard (100 x 240 cm) as proper balance because of its dominating intensive colors.

Her famous eagerness to take on new challenges is evident in her remarkable artwork “Enveloped Past”. This sculpture showcases a mesmerizing three-dimensional form compiled of spherical shapes intricately woven with cotton and copper wire. It earned the artist a well-deserved recognition and an award plaque at the prestigious 23rd Tapestry Biennial in 2018.

, “Enveloped Past” by Slađana Milojević, awarded at the 23rd Tapestry Biennial in 2018.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Nemanja Milenković, a painter from Novi Sad

Nemanja Milenković, born in Novi Sad in 1996, completed his basic academic studies in 2019, followed by his master’s studies in 2021 at the Department of Painting at the Academy of Arts under the guidance of Professor Dragan Matić. Currently, he is an employee in the same department.

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The artist showcased his work at 13 solos and over thirty group exhibitions. He has won several awards and prizes, including the Annual Award of the Department of Fine Arts for painting in 2019. Member of SULUV (Union of Associations of Visual Artists of Vojvodina) and the Shock Community.

In his artwork, N. Milenković with boldness explores complex relationships between humans and animals in modern society while delving into the space of collective and individual identity.

As the artist says: On the occasion of the invitation to participate in the 15th colony of tapestry artists “Boško Petrović” of “Atelje 61”, I realized a carton for a tapestry called “One of the many stories about Disappearing”. This piece of art is a watercolor technique on paper, measuring 200 x 140 cm. Its content derives from my current research on contemporary hunting practices in the Danube Region. It’s also about the fact, this Special Nature Reserve, is under strict protection as a natural area with numerous plant and animal species.

Carton for tapestry One of the many stories about Disappearing

One of the many stories about Disappearing
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A doe with a prosthetic leg and burning fire, a quarter of cardboard “One of the many stories of the disappearance”

At the cardboard forefront is a doe with a prosthetic leg. Painter`s act symbolizes the harm inflicted upon animals by hunting traps and weapons. In the distance, you can see a fire burning on the horizon. Two black storks on the right side of the tree complete the composition on the left side of the picture. These storks are among the protected rare species in Serbia. The purpose of this tapestry is to encourage viewers to reconsider their attitudes toward animals and their natural environment.

The “To Bless” exhibition offers a comprehensive view of Nemanja’s “One of the Many Stories of Disappearance” watercolor paintings created in 2022. These artworks provoke thought about the fundamental importance of poaching and legal hunting, which both result in the killing of animals. The legal aspect is what sets them apart. The emerging field of Bioethics brings attention to the issue of extreme animal exploitation in our society. Mankind witness many raising ethical questions about preserving ecosystems while hunting animals for personal gratification.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Dragan Zdravković, a painter and professor at the Belgrade Academy of Arts


Meet Dragan Zdravković, a renowned painter and professor at the  Belgrade Faculty of Applied Arts who teaches drawing and painting. He is among the founders of the Center for International Art Studies in Belgrade. Prof. Zdravković has an impressive opus with over seventy exhibitions and art projects since 1994. Notably, he represented Serbia at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 with his “Enclave” project. His artistic journey has been in sync with the evolution of digital technologies. His artworks serve as profound non-verbal representations of history, encapsulating the essence of the times he lives in. What’s more interesting is that these images can open up imaginative spaces of unparalleled dimensions of reality, completely detached from our current society.

The Night Kosta Passed Away

He efficiently fulfilled my request regarding the purpose of the tapestry cardboard he had prepared. The proposed tapestry is titled “The Night Kosta Passed Away”, which pays homage to the talented painter Kosta Bunuševac. The Colony participant is proud to have successfully transposed an image from his opus “The State of Hibernation” into a textile technique with the help of skilled and generous artistic weavers. This marks their first achievement of this kind.

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Dragan Zdravković “The Night Kosta Passed Away”

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Anna Olsson, tapestry artist from Gothenburg, Sweden


Anna Olsson is a skilled tapestry artist and psychologist from Gothenburg, Sweden. For the past six years, she has been offering psychological assistance to children and young adults who have recently moved to Sweden, in addition to pursuing her artistic pursuits. Her goal is to aid these individuals in adapting to their new surroundings and coping with any traumatic experiences they may have had. Anna has exhibited her artwork in multiple solo and group exhibitions, domestically and internationally, and has received numerous grants throughout her career.

For Anna Olsson, weaving is passion and the way she processes life around her. It gives her the means to express the images in her head. Anna used to say: my tapestries become a direct protest against those who want to deport the children and young people. But it is also an act of tenderness and love which I want to give the children and youth a place in the public space. And to show them they are important so that their portraits become a tapestry. With this act, I assure them that I see and listen to their stories, and carry testimonies as long as need.”

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Helping Hands” tapestry by Anna Olsson

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia Portrait of Zhina Modares Gorji, an Iranian activist for women’s rights

Anna Olsson arrived in Novi Sad with an established, solidly prepared, completely authentic concept. As sovereign tapestry procedure, she brought here the sketch of the portrait and all necessary material. Ready for the conceptual solution of the tapestry. Learning the mastery of artistic weaving in the Atelier will be a valuable experience. However, primarily her motive was to contribute to the fight for human rights, especially women’s rights, with her artistic work.

Anna Olsson’s improvised atelier, Tapestry Colony Novi Sad 2023.

Zhina Modares Gorji, an Iranian activist for women’s rights

In Anna Olsson`s words: The opportunity to participate in Atelier 61 and the Colony is my chance to utilize this action to help someone in desperate need. I chose to present a portrait of Zhina Modares Gorji, an Iranian activist for women’s rights who is unfortunately in prison and likely suffering severe torture. Through my art, I hope to bring attention to the plight of cultural workers and women who face such danger. This responsibility weighs heavily on me, reminding me of the privileges I have taken for granted. I feel an obligation to take a stand against oppressive regimes. As a woman, I believe that the weavers at Atelier will connect with a symbolic thread of unity among all women in Iran, Serbia, and Sweden.

I’m wondering now, what weaves means to Anna Olsson personally

Anna Olson’s approaches to tapestry weaving don’t focus on being part of the avant-garde movement. Instead, she places great importance on the traditional techniques, still valued in Swedish weaving. When asked about her motivations for learning tapestry weave, announce her perspective.

I fell in love with weaving when I learned it. The process fascinated me, from visualizing my designs in mind to weaving them. Weaving is a slow and methodical process, which helps me focus on the essential form and meaning of my designs. It has a calming and meditative effect on me thanks to its slow flow. I also adore the woven surface of the tapestry, which can be soft, lively, or strict. It’s evident to anyone who looks at a tapestry that it requires a lot of hard work, both mental and manual.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – Final day, selection of yarn for tapestry weaving

Throughout their stay at the Colony, participants took full advantage of the resources at the Tapestry Center. The weaving workshop and material storage were open for their use. For each artist`s cardboard was an ample supply of textile materials on disposal to work with. The artists meticulously selected the perfect yarns to add intricate details to their cardboard projects, demonstrating their artistic skills.

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Brankica Žilović marks every nuance of the thread, according to the Catalog
The choice of intense and contrasting colors for the Tapestry Creation of Slađana Milojević

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With guidance from the weaver, Nemanja Milenković selected all the material for the execution of the tapestry
Trusted by the artist, Vesna Grbić picks the yarn for translating the painting into Dragan Zdravković’s tapestry

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Anna Olsson

made the selection using her own method. From the colored sketch, she made a catalog of yarn samples according to the color shade markings. Milica Kovač will be the coauthor.


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Touring the Permanent Exhibition, Headquarters Gallery. From left: Vesna Grbić, Dragan Zdravković, Eva Đukić, Zoran Bulatović, Brankica Žilović, Slađana Milojević, Nemanja Milenković, and Anna Olsson.

Atelier61 Tapestry Colony Serbia – After this foundation works in cooperation and fellowship, further remains the weaving of the tapestries. We presented the procedure in an earlier post. However, the artwork of each master of art is unique in terms of sensibility, ideas, and effects. But, I am sure that the Production of Atelier 61 always has optimal solutions at its disposal.

I am impatiently waiting for the creation of tapestries from the 15th Convocation of the “Boško Petrović” Tapestry Colony in 2023. And the Triennial Exhibition is the best presentation of works to the public.
Congratulations to all participants of this year’s Tapestry Colony and the Atelier 61 Staff.

And thank you, Dear readers, for your patience, and hope your interest,
Sincerely, Branka on Textiles

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