First published: Summer 2021

Vojislav Jakić suffered a childhood of poverty and loss. He was born in 1932 in Veliki Radobilj, a village near Bitolj in North Macedonia, and three years later moved with his family to the small town of Despotovac, in central Serbia. The son of an orthodox priest, he had a devoutly religious, strict upbringing. By the time he was eight or so, his brother and sister had died, one of diphtheria, the other of scarlet fever, both illnesses that were incurable at the time. The death of his father followed, and young Jakić and his mother were left to cope alone.

 


Jakić in 2002, photo: Mario del Curto

Jakić created his first significant drawing, Portrait of the Mother, when he was eight years old. Gradually, he developed his artistic skills, and, as a teenager, he was able to earn a little money by doing portraits of deceased loved ones for grieving families. The work meant that Jakić was confronted with death and its effects repeatedly, but this was not new to him – from early childhood, he had watched his father, in his black robes, performing funeral services as the dead were carried into the church.

 


Untitled, 2002, combined technique on cardboard, 27.5 x x 19.5 in. / 70 x 50 cm

In 1952, at the age of 20, Jakić went to Belgrade, where he would stay for five years, visiting artists’ studios, drawing and sculpting, and trying to establish a career for himself. He found, however, that every door was closed to him. An unknown, untrained, provincial artist with no money behind him, he – along with other avant-garde artists – was thwarted by the conventions and taboos of the time.

by Nina Krstić 

 

This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #108.

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