The sixth weavers’ colony was held in the village of Stapar from September 7 to 11, organized by Ethno Network, the city of Sombor and NALED, under the auspices of the embassies of Canada and the United States. The colony gathered excellent weavers from Stapar, Sombor, Odzaci, Indjija, Novi Pazar, Loznica, Belgrade, Sabac, and Pancevo throughout the week-long program, who wove a rose motif from the Stapar kilim. For the first time, among the participants there was also a graduate student of the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, as well as Mrs. Anne Godfrey, spouse of the US ambassador, and a youngest weaver from Stapar, a twelve-year-old Tamara Stajsic. The program of the colony included professional lectures on the topic of psychological empowerment of women, geographic indication, as well as sightseeing tours of Sombor.
As part of the diplomatic day, the colony was visited by state officials and ambassadors of Finland, Germany, Canada, America, Belgium, Brazil, Israel, Egypt and Austria, as well as other senior diplomats and national media. - We want to show the world what Serbia has and that is why we are giving away the handicrafts made by rural women to the officials we meet with. Serbian handicrafts as diplomatic gifts have even reached the presidents of Russia and China. We plan to introduce the institute "guardians of tradition" - said the Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality Zorana Mihajlovic and added that she expects the new Government to adopt laws on gender equality, crafts and social entrepreneurship, which would improve the position of rural women.
Violeta Jovanovic, president of Ethno Network, expressed gratitude to patrons including the embassy of Israel which provided a grant for supply of raw materials and called on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to supply our embassies abroad with handicrafts, and the state and donors to support public works in culture, because women get the opportunity to affirm themselves socially and economically.
Sombor draws great tourist potentials from its rich cultural heritage as a chance for economic development, where Stapar kilims and local products have a significant place, said the Mayor, Antonio Ratkovic. The US Ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, said that he was proud of the long-term cooperation of the embassy with Ethno Network, which organizes this colony, but also of his wife Anne, who supports weavers and actively participates in the work of the colony.
Canadian Ambassador Kati Csaba pointed out Canada fund has provided a grant for Ethno Network to support the advancement of the position of women in post’covid environment. Ambassador Csaba was presented with the recognition by Ethno Network for her exceptional contribution to the preservation of heritage and the empowerment of women through the organization of weavers’ colonies. Dusanka Golubovic, the former mayor of Sombor and former member of the city council for culture and education Nemanja Sarac, also received meritorious awards.
The impact of the Stapar kilim revitalization project on contemporary art is evidenced by the mural in front of which ceremonial addresses were organized - painter from Belgrade Predrag Radovanovic, inspired by the story of the Stapar kilim, with the support of the city of Sombor, made a mural as a harmony of heritage and modernity, as a model to be followed by all communities that value art.
As part of the diplomatic program, the guests visited the Milan Konjovic Gallery, the city museum, the museum of the Danube Germans, the memorial house of Dragan Stojkov, the ceremonial hall of the County and the damask weaving workshop in Bezdan.