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Sofija Stefanovic, Professor Of Physical Anthropology, University Of Belgrade

Face-To-Face With Prehistoric Man

I recently succeeded, while managing the Prehistoric MetaHuman project, to realise one of my childhood dreams: to encounter a prehistoric man face to face. And I would say that the unconditional pursuit of personal dreams, regardless of how crazy or unreal they might be, is the key to my own creative evolution and my joy

You ask me what’s key to someone’s success, what inspires people to create, what drives them. These are all essential questions, so I’ll try not to write too much about what’s on the surface and, instead, attempt to describe the core of my inspiration. On the surface is my formal biography, which, as the poet would say, “was wonderful and there was plenty of it”. As a scientist and professor of physical anthropology at the Department of Archaeology of the University of Belgrade’s Faculty of Philosophy, I’m happy to be able to say that my project on prehistoric maternity – BIRTH, was the first project from Serbia to receive support from the European Research Council.

The projects that I’ve managed enabled the hiring of 25 young people, while I’ve also amassed lots of mentoring work and numerous scientific publications. I recently succeeded, while managing the Prehistoric MetaHuman project, to realise one of my childhood dreams: to encounter a prehistoric man face to face. And I would say that the unconditional pursuit of personal dreams, regardless of how crazy or unreal they might be, is the key to my own creative evolution and my joy. And when we are joyful, success arrives like some unimportant consequence of our jubilation. And it is precisely the importance of jubilation to our lives that, for me, provides one of the most important insights that we should not wait for inspiration.

I stopped by to You, voila. From a dream, the truth calls. And when at daybreak all realities are acquired, One verse comes to me To say: nothing seen really is. And a poem slows before dawn And look – all is white already. In your presence, Truth springs. With a verse I stopped by to see you.

That is to say that inspiration does not reside somewhere in the outside world and we shouldn’t wait for some muse of grace to touch us. The entire world is already within us, and while we answer the seemingly simple question of who we are, parts of the world open up within us like buds that we don’t see if we’re focused on the external world. I answer the question of who I am while in silence (to my most powerful teacher) I create poems and pictures. Art is the central pillar of my world and my knowledge of self, the healer of all doubt and strife, but through it I also reach new scientific and other ideas. That’s because, when you are creating, you cease to be an individual limited by your biography and gain the freedom in which all the blessings from “God’s Garden” become yours too. That’s the very reason that I essentially agree with Štulić when he sings “art makes you stronger than you assume”. Unfortunately, it took me many years to realise that, when creating, it isn’t important whether the picture is ultimately “nice” and the song “beautiful” (which prevented me from creating for a long time, because my distinct lack of talent meant that I always found the result of my creativity discouraging). I now know that it is the very process of creation that’s important, and inspiration flows the instant I dip my pen in ink. Or rather, I don’t wait for someone or something to inspire me, rather I start the process of creation and different universes thus begin opening up to me.

I’ve already stated that poems don’t have to be beautiful, rather that it’s important for us to create them, so here I gift your readers a poem that isn’t beautiful, but during its creation I defined some new projects that I hope you’ll soon be writing about in CorD.

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