The Slovenia Times

Cartoonist Miki Muster and Poet Andrej Brvar Laureates of 68th Grand Prešeren Awards


This year the two Grand Prešeren Awards, the most prestigious recognition for lifetime artistic achievement in Slovenia, were conferred to Miki Muster, the pioneer of Slovene comic strips and cartoons, and to the vitalist poet and long-time book editor and publicist Andrej Brvar.

Inspired by the United Nations declaring 2015 the International Year of Light, the theme of the awards ceremony titled "The Sprinkling of Light" and directed by Matej Filipčič was a celebration of light. Both the script written by Peter Kolšek and the speech given by Janez Bogataj, the chairman of the Prešeren Fund Management Board, praised art for the light it brings in the form of hope and inspiration. In his acceptance speech Miki Muster, the 89-year-old legendary Slovene animation and caricature artist, sculptor, illustrator, director and cartoonist who had always dreamed of using his talent to make people laugh while intentionally avoiding violence in his cartoons, expressed his hopes that like him, everybody could have their childhood dreams come true. With the humoristic stories of his timeless and widely popular cartoon characters "Zvitorepec" the fox, "Trdonja" the turtle and "Lakotnik" the wolf, the outstandingly prolific Miki Muster has fulfilled his vision of successfully entertaining and creatively amusing generations of children. 

Andrej Brvar, the editor of the first selected anthology of Slovene prose poetry and the poet who describes his own verse as graphic impressions captured into words that show the way out of nihilism, accepted his award and hand shakes with a poetic appeal to the audience: "Have you ever thought about the hands that the people you shook hands with had shaken before? And about the hands those people had shaken before, and the ones before them? Has it ever occurred to you that, embedded in this invisible net of hands intertwined, you have indirectly shaken hands with people all around the world, regardless of their skin tone, religion or political conviction?" According to Brvar himself, his poetry is in a love relationship with the world, deeply committed to living. Perceiving life with a genuine sense of wonder, his characteristic verse is often moved to tears by existence and its fragility.

The Prešeren Fund also presented the annual awards for important individual artistic achievements. The laureates of the Prešeren Fund Awards in 2015 are:

1. Composer and jazz saxophonist Jure Pukl for his internationally praised original jazz compositions and numerous exceptional performances

2. Actress Pia Zemljič for her role of "Pia" in the theatre play Zapiranje ljubezni (The Closing of Love), and her other critically acclaimed roles

3. Painter Marko Jakše for his exhibition Rožnati dim (Pink Fog) and his unique personal extraordinarily rich style of expression

4. Poet, journalist, radio editor and translator Marjan Strojan for his translation of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales

5. Modern dance and choreography duo Rosana Hribar and Gregor Luštek for their duet Štirinajst (Fourteen) and Korak v dvoje po Pii in Pinu (A Step Together After Pia and Pino)

6. Composer Vito Žuraj for his outstanding international achievements and his composition Changover. 


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