In summer of 1905, in the village of Sicevo near Nis, the only joint working place of the First Yugoslav Art Colony took place. This artistic association was founded by Nadezda Petrovic and her Croatian and Slovenian colleagues who acquired the same education at the studio of Anton Azbe in Munich.

Apart from having been committed to various current trends in the arts opposing academic realism, they were united by a strong aspiration towards Yugoslavia. Therefore, their program was based on the idea of ​​formulating indigenous Yugoslav art, which, based on the rich folklore of these peoples and contemporary European artistic movements, could compete globally.

Although the Balkan Wars and World War I, in which Nadezhda Petrovic lost her life, soon interrupted the operation of the Yugoslav Art Colony, it occupies an important place in the national art history. The events of the early twentieth century, which granted the village of Sicevo a lasting aura of specialty on the map of local culture, were also the first joint work of artists in the Balkans pleneruna.

Due to the series of turbulent historical circumstances, the reunion of artists in Sicevo would be expected for almost sixty years. In 1963, the Cultural and Educational Community of Nis formed an Initiative Committee for the Restoration of the Colony.

The president was Ivan Vuckovic, and members were fine artists (Dragan Kostic, Nina Antokovic Radomir Antic), public workers, cultural workers and journalists. The opinion of the Committee was that the future manifestation should nurture the Yugoslav character, different stylistic orientation and the generational range of participants, and that it would not be oriented to any specific media, as was the case in other colonies in the country.

The first Sicevo Art Colony that took place from August 15 to 31, 1964 numbered 12 participants from Belgrade, Nis, Zagreb, Sarajevo and Titograd. During the first year, the practice of meeting with artists and public workers of the city was established, organizing the reception of artists in the City Hall, visiting cultural monuments, and in addition to timely and intensive informing about the participants of the Colony, their activities and performance, the attention of the wider city public was also gained as the opening of the exhibition of the Art Colony was related to with the Liberation Day of Nis (October 14, 1944). Also, a catalog was published with one black and white reproduction of each author’s work, a short biography and a list of the exhibited works, purchase prizes of the colony were awarded, followed by a monetary indemnity for each work of other participants.

The impact of the Colony in the first years of its existence was really great, mainly due to the great efforts of artists and individual cultural workers (Dragan Kosić, Ljiljana Slijepčević, Uglješa Rajčević), but also by establishing cooperation with experts from other backgrounds (Lazar Trifunović, Katarina Ambrozić, Đorđe Kadijević). It was indirectly reflected in the more vivacious artistic life of the city, richer production, solo exhibitions of artists from Niš in other areas, as well as at important republic artistic shows. But besides the benefits that came from communicating with prominent Yugoslav artists and an attractive program such as the Colony’s annual exhibition, the City’s profit laid in the works of art.

The art collection of the early period of the Colony reflects the basic tendencies of the time: enformel, that is, abstract expressionism and lyrical abstraction, but also figuration with elements of the surreal and the fantastic.

Graphic arts workshop Sicevo

The initiative to equip the Graphic arts workshop in Sicevo was started back in 2003 on the proposal of Slobodan Radojkovic, then Master of Graphic Arts employed by the Gallery. One of the premises within the building of the Sicevo Art Colony was transformed into a graphic workshop and an intaglio press was purchased. In 2005, the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Art marks the century since the first gathering of artists the Sicevo Art Colony.