Skopje, 30 January 2024 (MIA) — President Stevo Pendarovski awarded Tuesday evening the national Order of Merit to Macedonian writer Olivera Nikolova, actors Bedija Begovska, Blagoja Chorevski, Refet Abazi, and Gjokica Lukarevski, musician Risto Vrtev and theater director Slobodan Unkovski.
According to President Pendarovski in his speech at the awards ceremony, national culture and arts should be valued and local authors and artists recognized.
“Thanks to them, we have something to present to the world and be competitive in the world ‘cultural competition.’ Let us respect and properly value these national values of ours, because this is the way to show our self-respect and our love for our country,” Pendarovski said.
“Macedonia is not us politicians, Macedonia is its artists,” he added.
The President pointed out that despite being small, the country could boast with great creative potential, producing extraordinary authors and artists who laid the foundations of contemporary Macedonian culture.
Olivera Nikolova received the Order of Merit for being one of the most important Macedonian fiction writers “whose work is characterized by exceptional rhythmic excitement and a lush emotional and modern sensibility.”
Bedija Begovska received the Order of Merit for her prolific international career as a theater and film actress, widely acclaimed for her “theatrical precision and powerful interpretation.”
Blagoja Chorevski received the Order of Merit for “his powerful transformation and improvisation skills” and for being “an actor in whom the tragic and the funny, the comic and the dramatic collide.”
Refet Abazi received the Order of Merit for his acting, writing and teaching career, distinguished by his thorough, analytical and methodological approach.
Gjokica Lukarevski received the Order of Merit for his four-decade theater acting career and immense talent for portraying serious to comical characters equally well.
Risto Vrtev received the Order of Merit for spearheading the Macedonian avant-garde music scene and “the brave and alternative wave of music” that left a lasting mark in former Yugoslavia as well.
Slobodan Unkovski received the Order of Merit for his unique achievements as a theater director and contributions to the national and international contemporary theater history.