The Solstice Ritual
Despite the heavy shroud of winter and darkness, the Cultural Center of Banat Gallery shone that night in the village near Novi Bečej, filled with ”small formats” of Dragoš Kalajić and a classical music concert. Joyful people, completely ordinary ones, were able to directly feel the power of real music and live culture, and how little it takes to have the heart of ancientness start ticking in us again. On such journeys, with such thoughts, one can reach endless distances. One can reach their own center

By: Dragan M. Ćirjanić
Photo: NR Press, Cultural Center of Banat, Dragan Belić

While gliding down the highway, only the night was faster than us, hiding a thick network of chemical traces on the skies of Serbia. We went to a little pilgrimage to our friend and painter Dragoš Kalajić, whose works still intrigue and excite spirits, indicating an opus bigger than painting.
Novo Miloševo in Banat hosted a collection of Kalajić’s so-called ”small formats”, since his painting was mainly marked by paintings of larger dimensions. This is Dragoš’s fourth posthumous exhibition (”Progres” Gallery, Modern Gallery in Valjevo and RTS Gallery).
That night, concepts such as culture, enthusiasm, art, returned to their basic, original meaning. At this time of the year (December 17), at the time of winter solstice, when nights are longest and the Sun illumines our continent shortest, many countries of the northern hemisphere hold ancient rituals, singing to the sunlight and return of the Sun (Serbian: ”Suncovrat”). The most famous is the one in Sweden, Santa Lucia, when girls, wearing a crown of candles, sing to this Mediterranean saint, since her name evokes light. The Christmas holidays also belong to the ritual of invoking and awaking the Sun in us...
With such thoughts, the Gallery showed up before us bathing in light, out of the darkness, a very unusual sight indeed. Beauty is even more beautiful when unexpected, when it surprises us...
Welcome to Dragoš’s world, the world of people, beasts and gods... In that world, everything is like a symphony, still waiting for its composer, divine, symbolic and romantic. Heroic greatness still lives there. It is marked by tragedy.
This Dragoš’s exhibition, with paintings full of primeval light, also seemed to invoke the return of the Sun and light within us. Projections of metaphysical Arian, archetypical images, from conquered heights, masters, speak about the polar characters of the Arians, their freedom and desire for distant lands, and are inseparable from their features, strong will, cold-bloodedness, feeling of superiority, contempt for life and death. The sights levitate, in a free aria, between the Heavens and Earth, on the watchtower of action and planned attack or in the marble chambers of heavenly palaces, always filled with eros, the divine creative force. They are not people. They are beasts and gods. Our Golden Age. Our nostalgia and desire. Those exiled beasts with royal postures are us, who don’t exist as such any more, on European land.
Dragoš’s paintings wake up in us the European, Hyperborean nationalism, pan-European, lost nationalism, forgotten religions, sleeping in certain ethno-nationalisms of Europe. The eros of nationalism rests on these paintings, full of shatters of lost unity. And everything is saying that, if there is Faith and Desire, such a world will be realized again, shining brighter than ever before.


These sights of the Arian world awake our consciousness and connection with the Great Cycles of life, pulsing within us. We became arche and ur. The absolute man and absolute woman, united and lonely in this ”arena of the universe”. The impulses of the Great Life require great personalities. The present, as a unique kiss of the past and the future, always actualized both the past and the future within us. It is our life and our eternity. It is an invitation to think in our life about the great self, in Great Serbia, in Great Europe, from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Nietzsche said: ”Politics is only for those capable of having wide, very wide views of things.” The notion of authentic Europe is completely different, much wider, even opposite to the concept of the West. Every political concept has its own religion.
For Dragoš, European ethno-nationalism consists of a wreath of non-antagonistic nationalisms of the unique Empire of Europe. His paintings are an expression of that worldview, an emanation of the lost religiousness. That makes him unique in the world of painting and unexplainable by the history of art, spirit or fashion of the time or history of aesthetical concepts. Paintings are strongholds for creating a new reality, first as an internal structure and then in reality. All battles are first fought on the spiritual-religious-aesthetical level. Those paintings are an invitation to change the worldview, to a new synthesis, to returning our authenticity, return of the divine principle, where people are in harmony with the heavenly order. This is the painting of the Kshatriya world, warriors, guardians and conquerors. It is in sharp opposition to the destructive forces of the modern world, spirit of nihilism and deserts of materialism. Rare are places of resistance and spiritual gathering today, strongholds with a radically different view of the world, of sacral character, where nation and heritage play an important role and basically determine the society and historical processes. It seems that external danger has never been bigger. However, memory whispers to us that it used to be worse, much worse. That feeds our suppressed thymo. A lonely renegade from the fallen world builds his temple, gathers his strength and plans his return.


The painter’s poem about heavens and life, in moments turned the space of the Gallery into a ritual place of the Hyperborean cult of the Sun, religion of our blood. Into an imaginary temple of living memories, with his icons-paintings. With an imaginary crown of light, as if landed from the world of paintings, violinists Sonja Kalajić and Aleksandra Kurilić transferred us into the living future of Europe with the music of Telemann, Haydn, Marais, Albeniz, Angel Villoldo. Music does have such power. The paintings and sights came to life... We were sailing the free sky of Europe... Beneath us, in the glittering sunlight, people waved and greeted us. Ezra Pound from a gondola, Jünger catching butterflies, Leni Riefenstahl from the peaks of Mont Blanc, Malaparte on the roof of his house in Capri, Schmidt and Heidegger from the towers in the ”Land of Castles”, Crnjanski from Kalemegdan, Russian cadets from the cruiser in the Northern Sea... Đorđe Janković near the Serbian shrine in Arkona... and many others we knew... As if they wanted to tell us something more... And further to the north, we were looking for Hyperborea... But that’s another story.
... A flock of migratory birds flies every year to the place where Hyperborea used to be. Merezhkovsky writes... ”It (the flock) circles above the water looking for land and doesn’t find it. Some of the birds, tired and exhausted, fall into the water, while others go back. What we call ‘instinct’ is more eloquent than ‘knowledge, memory’, Plato’s anamnesis, and is stronger in animals than in humans. Their ten thousand years is like a minute... People forgot it, birds remember. The eloquent sage also remembers it: in his explorations of the ancient homeland, he circles above the ocean, searches for land and, not finding it, falls into the waves. Dying, he sings his song. That is how the Hyperborean swan, Plato, does it.”
One of those swans, tired, returned and landed that evening in the Gallery of Novo Miloševo, to rest for his next flight to the North of his memories. The skies over Banat turned blue again. Paintings of Dragoš Kalajić wake up ”instincts” in us. Everything needed for a new cycle is there and we can peacefully stand before the arriving storm of time. The time when all heroes from his paintings will be among us.
With such thoughts and a sparkle of future, we returned to the night, to the road back to the city.


Cultural Center of Banat
The Cultural Center of Banat Gallery in Novo Miloševo preserves the loving memory of their townsman, famous Serbian journalist (”Serbske narodne novine”), Teodor Pavlović (1804-1854), editor and first secretary of Matica Srpska, and organizes many cultural events to his honor. The Gallery is on the estate of Radovan Vlahović, writer, whose spirit embraced the entire event.


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