Gallery for the future
For almost a decade, the idea of ​​establishing an institution in Nis was growing, a city of rich history and tradition, at the intersection of East and West roads, focused on popularizing, nurturing and studying contemporary art, exhibiting works of fine arts, buying fine arts and creating a rich fund, as well as organizing seminars and various forms of pedagogical activity, as well as running the colony of Sicevo.
The need for the development and improvement of cultural life in the city, which in the post-war years grew into a significant socio-political, economic and university center, and the need of the audience for new challenges, experiences, knowledge, for a critical look at society, environment and history, contributed and at the same time pointed to the necessity of its existence.
The Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts Niš was founded on June 9, 1970. It was the only specialized and independent institution of its kind in Serbia, and the third in the entire country. Due to this fact, Nis has taken a significant place on the map of cultural centers.
The vision of Dr. Lazar Trifunovic had, a professor at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, a well-known art critic and the first director of the Gallery, was a large, versatile center for modern art that will look to the future: “I will consider that I have achieved my life goal if this future gallery is not only an image of our art, but a cross-section through all layers of our lives. In doing so, we will use, not copy, the entire pool of specific knowledge created in the world by a network of museum and gallery work. It will be, although an anti-museum type of gallery now sounds strange, not a classic, frozen-in, fast-moving institution, but a dynamic center that will listen to the voices of the future and adapt to them. ”
A lot of work, effort and enthusiasm of the employees and selfless support and understanding of cultural and public workers and fine artists during the half a century was needed to realize ambitious plans which, in addition to exhibition, educational and museological work at a highly professional level, the organization of the Art colony and in cooperation with similar institutions in all the republics of the former Yugoslavia, they envisaged the formation of a permanent exhibition.
This distance gives us the opportunity to summarize the results that, with the many challenges our predecessors and we have achieved, while being open to criticism and suggestions, in order to improve the work of the institution in the years to come.
Today, the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts in Nis represents a significant institution of culture of museum character, organizing exhibitions of local and foreign contemporary artists as well as renowned artists of the mid-twentieth century in the “Officers’ Club”, the Pavillion of the Nis fortress and Salon 77.
Contemporary art follows the contemporary trends of life and development, and as such it presents us with challenges in presentation and study, which we strive to respond to by constant modernization in technical and technological terms.
The gallery is also a place of learning, so in working and communicating with the audience, responding to their needs and the current moment, with exhibitions and publications, we strive to introduce the public, especially the youngest, to contemporary creativity.
Since its foundation, the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts has been the organizer of an international event of Sicevo Art Colony and since 2006, the Graphic Workshop “Sicevo”, as well as the residency programs “Land in Focus”.
Thanks to the manifestations, purchases and gifts of artists, the institution has a valuable collection of paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, contemporary media by local and foreign creators from the seventies to the present, with a tendency to enrich it. Occasionally organizing exhibitions in our and other areas, we strive to present it to the public. By digitizing the fund, we make the artwork available for study and permanent storage.
By fostering cooperation with institutions, cultural centers and artists from abroad through exhibition activities, convening colonies, workshops and residential programs, we want to popularize the creativity of artists from Nis and Serbia beyond the borders of our country and contribute to the affirmation of our world scene, exchange of experiences, ideas, education , especially significant for young artists.
Today, the Gallery team consists of fifteen employees, who by professional and conscientious work, selfless efforts and following current museum practice, continue the mission of the founder and at the same time improve the work of the institution. We have an extremely important goal, both for the institution and for Nis, as an important cultural center of this region, a goal that has been pursued by our founders and predecessors all these years – a permanent setting and an opportunity to present to the public the wealth we inherit. Since almost a decade has passed since the initial idea was founded, we believe that half a century is sufficient time for the City of Nis to find an adequate space in which to display the works of one of the most representative funds in Serbia.
This jubilee, 50 years of work and existence, we are deeply convinced that our Gallery, our “versatile center for modern art, facing the future” is ever closer to achieving its goal, while at the same time looking for new challenges posed by culture, art, time, profession.

Emilija Bilic, the Director of the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts Nis