Sasha Makarska | Montenegrin Retablos
The thanksgiving retablo (exvoto) pictures are generally ordered from artists to reward the saint for a miracle, which happened to people or their families. It is often gratitude for the healing, salvation from shipwreck, that everything is going well with work. But someone thanks that his mother-in-law has finally left, that her husband has not caught her lover, for adding friends on Facebook.
Thank-you retablos are the most sought after in Mexico. There Catholic tradition and customs of the Indians (they also dedicated thanksgiving images to the gods) have been combines. Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo were passionate collectors of retablos. Frida herself painted retablos. Once she came across an exvoto with a picture of an accident similar to the one which she got injured in. Frida added an inscription with the date and some details to the picture.
The three obligatory elements of the retablo are: the picture of an event, situation, portrait of the Saint, a descriptive text and gratitude for divine intervention.
Olga Kozlova, an art critic
I admit that it was very unexpectedly to see pictorial work in the genre of clay votive tablets in Sasha’s workshop in Kotor.
Figurative painting today is almost always disappointing, but not these works: they are eye-catching, visually refreshing, intriguing.
They are conceptual and naïve, professional and direct at the same time. Sasha is a personality and her taste, cultural awareness and her view of the world are read in her paintings.
Having seen them, I felt some kind of «Deja vu», but in a very positive sense of the word!
Votive tablets occur constantly in Catholic parts of Switzerland, in Italy. There are people and lives behind them. And every time while looking at the scenes and reading the texts -for what and how the giver thanked God – you feel as if you sank in the well of history. Sasha’s paintings are dedicated to the stories of our days, not less curious than incidents of the past centuries, and it is not less interesting to look at them.
It is amazing how you can suddenly touch a centuries-old tradition, but in a new phase, in our time: rearrange accents, include irony and reflection, add the baggage of history of painting of the 20th century, almost impudently, but very naturally operate in the same way, but in a completely different time. It is a very interesting experience, which shows that genre painting is still going strong…