Stanislav Ćano Koprivica je rođen 1929. godine u Koprivicama, kod Nikšića.
The Boka Kaleidoscope
The Cano Koprivica Non-Governmental Foundation has financed the publishing of an unusual monograph, which brings us some romantic, long-forgotten, but also some previously unknown facts about everything that the author, Dr Veselin Kljajic experiences as “Boka”. Dr Ratko Bozovic wrote the following about this book:
‘Veselin Kljajic has brought together separate versions of texts published between 1995 and 2002 into a natural single entity, into a whole with an internal cohesion, which was created not only because of the thematic closeness between these texts, but even more for the author’s consistent view of the Mediterranean world. In the creation of the image of that world, the perception of the author, his sensibility and system of values were of fundamental significance. Twelve separate entities, different in genre, made out of nine reportages and three interview portraits are an altogether unique story. Apart from the fact that each text is a self-contained whole, the author - with his selections, his order in the book, as well as the graphical elements, from the design to the top-class photography, make a well-rounded story about the Boka Kotorska Bay. Those who are best acquainted with its towns, churches and cathedrals, squares, people, history, present times, the contents of its treasuries and cultural heritage bear witness to it all. In this reconstruction of times past, historical and cultural/artistic works, and also original documents from the archives were a great help to the author. History, the past and destiny of Kotor, Perast and Herceg Novi overlap with the present. In this rather “sentimental journey” of Kljajic’s, there are many things that actually intersect, such as remembrance and oblivion, the traditional and modern, irrevocable transiency and the healing power of memory.
With each donation over €50, you automatically become a member of the non-governmental foundation “Cano Koprivica” and get your own copy of this deluxe bilingual memoir “The Boka Kaleidoscope” as a present.
‘In his effort to get a closer insight about the mosaic of the centuries, the historical legacy, the colours, smells and taste, the spirit and soul of Boka, it is no accident that the author had several important conversations. In Herceg Novi, that coastal pearl of a town, there is a magnificent continent of a man whose name is Vojo Stanic. He is almost bigger than this town. Ever since ancient times, the most famous artists of our country used to dwell inside its walls. It is sufficient just to mention Petar Petrovic Njegos and Ivo Andric. Today, the most dominant creative personality there is Vojo Stanic. Neither the identity of this town, nor its spiritual vertical and creative point can be imagined without him. Stanic has been living in Herceg Novi since 1951. There, in the famous Art School, he taught sculpture which was related to his first academic title. It is said that he used to enter the classroom through a window. It seems that he soon realized that painting was his creative obsession, and for this reason he devoted himself to it on a permanent and daily basis.
‘Stanic dislikes travelling. Red wine is his favourite drink. This artist gives vent to his Mediterranean soul by sailing. There are also his original and unexpected meditations. Stanic is a completely distinctive personality. He confirmed this again during a conversation with Veselin Kljajic. He has both a world and a universe of his own. Within it, fantasy, the subconscious, the unconscious, the real and surreal are present. All of this is refracted through his internal mirror. All of it is seen through his internal eye. In the best possible manner he determined himself in relation to himself inside his experiment about leisure. He sees leisure as a condition for creation, as a form of creative silence. It enabled his “escape into painting”. Inside of it, in the fullest sense, he gets close to the rhythm of his own nature, his own biorhythm. In direct connection with his leisure is his solitude, but also his joys and excitements. His anti-boredom. Everything that he does is a kicking against the nothingness of boredom and the emptiness of trivial existence. A painter is a constructor of humour, of sparkling and sloping artistic sights. Apart from that, Stanic reckons that painting is “painted music”, and also poetry. He says: “Painting has tones, harmony, it has rhythm, and all of these are things that music has. Or poetry.” That is sufficient for artistic synthesis and artistic experience, and to live out life strongly. All of that is present in his painting. Stanic is charming, funny, intelligent, unobtrusive and as spontaneous as nature itself.
‘A conversation with Milos Milosevic had a dramatic effect of a different sort. Kljajic’s disjointed curiosity came face to face with Milosevic’s renaissance personality and his opulent biography. A biography of that kind does not exist in our environment. In narration, without a wrinkle, it was almost unnecessary to ask questions. The suggestiveness of memory was followed by an unrivalled biography. In the way he spoke of Kotor, the continuity of the past and present were being reinstated. The special allure of his words is in the individual experience that he lived through: “I am not a hedonist, I am rather an ascetic. In every sort of way. Also, I am directed in such a way by the standpoint of my philosophical constitution, which is, above all, Christian. Besides, I do not wish to be enslaved by anything. Neither food nor cigarettes. For instance, I use to smoke, but I quit, when Irena had to stop because of her illness. Actually, that is the issue of freedom and renunciation in the name of love. Because, when are we being selfish? When we possess too much freedom. We touch people, we hurt people, and we leave grave scars on people. Or the same thing happens to us as well. For that reason I am moderate in everything. Ever since I was a young boy. And that I believe to be one of the reasons why I am full of life at my age. But do not get me wrong. I enjoy everything. Nature, for example - I enjoy nature very much. My garden (messy as it is), the stone table that I made myself, the objects that surround me and cause me to reminisce, the drawing room, books, memories, my grandchildren. So, there is one internal climate, which I balance, and when I succeed in it, it makes me happy. Sometimes, everything gets distorted by my apparently too intense work.” That is how Mr. Milosevic sees himself. There is also his point: “l have spent a wonderful life in the comfortably set nature of Boka, with a large family, giving priority to spiritual values and full of research projects.” It will soon be clear to the reader that Mr. Milosevic represents a counterpart of the entire Catholic (Venetian) heritage in Boka today. It becomes clear from the conversation why this three-time PhD, polyglot, musician, archivist and one of the best living connoisseurs of this part of the Adriatic is also a lifetime admiral of the Bokelian Navy and an indispensable consultant of the mighty Vatican.
‘Within Kljajic’s kaleidoscope, a lawyer was also found - Mr. Vladan Lazarevic, the owner of the Pima Palace in Kotor, the Tre Sorele in Prcanj, the Bujovic Palace in Perast and other things of all sorts; he is Milosevic’s double, but the Orthodox version. Originating from Raska, Lazarevic’s ancestors moved to Kotor in the 4th century, during the reign of the Nemanjic dynasty; being present in Kotor as much as the Pima palace has ever been, where they have been living ever since. This is confirmed by reliable documents which the author of the book reminds us about. Before dealing with Vladan Lazarevic, Kljajic wrote about his father: “As a pupil in Vienna, he graduated in medicine, came back to Kotor, and besides his practice, he founded a clay industry, a shipping company, a printing house, even “The Boka” magazine, where he was the first chief-in-editor. If you add to all of this the fact that he was a banker, an entrepreneur and finally a royal senator, the image of a successful, Renaissance man from the beginning of this century would be complete. Therefore, it was less strange that one of the first post-war lawyers in Kotor should be his son, Mr. Vladan Lazarevic. And even less strange is the fact that this family is among the wealthiest and the most respected in this area. Supposedly, the palace (originally Pima) is more often called “The Lazarevic Palace”. Vladan Lazarevic is a well-educated man, a polyglot, a highly influential person among the Orthodox population, whose house is, even today, a place where European royalty gathers; such as our very own Karadjordjevic dynasty, but also much of the European nobility, because of his title of earl, and being the sort of person he was, he remained an unavoidable interlocutor.
‘Immediately distinct is also Mrs. Darinka Matic Marovic who was obviously chosen as an artist and as a woman. In every place she shapes her life and professional story in the colours of the Boka and Kotor. This is also visible in her dialect, and each of her performances, in her surrounding and in everything she does in both her public life and on the music scene. It is the foundation of her identity and her human and artistic complexity. And when you take a look at her oeuvre, her professional activism and the powerful creative energy of this musician of ours, it only remains for a nostalgic contemporary to ask himself whether this sort of dynamically creative personality will ever repeat itself in our country. I say that because Mrs. Darinka Matic Marovic was the first female dean and rector in the history of the Serbs, the first female conductor, who made choir music famous worldwide. The COLLEGIUM MUSICUM is unthinkable without her name. That is only a piece of her rich, creatively devised biography.
‘In this way, a Catholic, an Orthodox, an atheist and a female artist find themselves in one place, in Klajic’s team of chosen ones. What they all have in common (apart from the inevitable fact that Voja Stanic, Milos Milosevic and Vladan Lazarevic are 92 or older) is that they are all living in palaces and houses (Darinka Matic Marovic lives in an apartment) filled with artifacts, weapons, furniture of all sort, sculptures, paintings and other valuable items. Altogether, it forms the widest material and cultural heritage of the Boka. For valid reasons, Kljajic thinks that their “prime environment” shapes the “internal” photography, which, in great measure, repaints their character and mentality. Moreover, it evokes their unrepeatable psychological portraits and also their creative originality and individual diversity.
‘The difficulty and insistence of this enterprise of Kljajic’s is borne witness to by the fact that all the living legends of the Boka decided to let the author of these texts inside their homes and bare themselves before him - both emotionally and spiritually. The way in which Kljajic “dresses” them afterwards testifies to the author’s experience and ability save his interlocutors from their own selves, to hint to the reader about their sadness, joys, family misfortunes, unconscious allusions, but also to make a unique mosaic out of their biographies, where the smells, the sounds and the emotions of the seaside are being woven. An observant reader’s eye cannot miss the fact that on his way through the treasuries, monasteries, churches and palaces, Kljajic had guides that can rarely be found. And they themselves agreed to open the doors of this insufficiently famous, marvellous and different Boka – to this author in particular.
‘Why would they do such a thing? Because they had gained full confidence in both Kljajic’s motifs and his research ideas. They trusted him as a man and a journalist – a professional; they recognized his honesty and spirituality. They believed that he would know how to recognize the important, aware of how to shape those important details in a convincing, honourable and credible manner. Before him, not a single journalist - with a photographer - has been received at Mr. Lazarevic’s house, and never before Kljajevic’s arrival had a journalist been allowed to enter most of the monastery treasuries, especially not to film relics like the Glorious Head or St Triphon’s reliquary, or the artifacts at the Praskvica Monastery. It was similar with the Church of St Stephen in Kotor, where Veselin Kljajic descended, with a rope, 20 m beneath the floor of the existing church, just to see what no one else had seen before him. Finally, when you see it all, without anything remaining, only then can the genuine journalist write and testify about it. That is what happened in this particular case.
‘This author’s distinctive creative writing has sifted through all the texts of this precious book. Kljajic is an observer made of nerves and talent, the master of methodology. As a conscientious chronicler, he does not miss or overlook anything important. It will easily come to the reader’s attention that in most of his texts there are strong clumps of Romantic and Romanesque motifs. These motifs followed by precise and lived-out sayings, no matter whether they are about towns, monastery treasuries, palaces or people. Faced with the crises of humanity, we are under the impression that Kljajic is disappointed because of Kierkegaard’s recent thoughts about time having no value, where it all becomes a role and a presentation. Helderlin is even more specific: “You see craftsmen, not men; thinkers, not men; priests, not men.” Really, where is Man? The generations to come ache to reach their identity, because they seem like a world without memory, without the knowledge of good and evil. This is something that Kljajic takes hard as a university professor and an intellectual with morals.
‘What our public shouldn’t overlook is that these sorts of books (documentary reportages and portraits) are a rarity. Books are not being written nowadays without the ingredients of current politics, or new geography, or the sensational, scandalous, hip, or without celebrities, spin and without any drastic simplification. It is a truth universally acknowledged that in the world, especially in our media, but also in books, we rarely come across documentary reportages being sought from authors - apart from the reporter’s “eye of the camera” and talent - serious research work, enquiring through archives, documents, “picking” through dusty documents and archive material, which was all present in the methodology when this book was being created. Considering that most texts in this book were made before the computer era, when the author had to read hundreds of pages of appropriate material and documents, and that he had to undertake so many conversations in order to write any text in this book, there are many reasons to sincerely compliment him, not least because of the fact that perhaps the greatest value of Kljajic’s attempt was actually to use a documentary as the form of the most suitable quest for the truth.
‘Kljajic’s story “with soul” and refinement comes from the other side of trivial existence, the other side of evil. The author does not keep to himself the fact that he is charmed by the Boka, most of all the Boka from ancient times, from history. That is why I do not hold any grudges because of the exaltations that were made in this unrepeatable and sincere perception of the history and destiny of this Mediterranean miracle. That exaltation was justified because it produced pleasure in writing it, and will surely produce joy in reading it.’