September 6–October 12, 2017

Reception & Panel Discussion

Thursday, September 21, 5–9pm

Discussion begins at 6:30pm in LI148 (next to gallery)
*Catered, Free, and Open to the Public*
1st Floor, Liberal Arts Building, MSUB Campus

Several years ago, the government of the Republic of Macedonia, led by conservative party VMRO–DPMNE, embarked on a hugely expensive "beautification" of the capital city, Skopje. Monuments to various "historical" figures were erected and quasi-classical facades were placed on old buildings. Growing evidence suggests the project was a lucrative money-laundering scheme for leading party figures. 

In 2016, these monument and buildings came under attack as various groups of citizens rose together to protest government corruption and disregard for rule of law. Using paint as ammunition, citizens defaced these edifices to express their revolt. While the government called them hooligans, many saw them as heroes of a grass-roots movement, which became known as "The Colorful Revolution."

This exhibition tells the protesters' story through the photographic testimonies of Robert Atanasovski, Vanco Dzambaski, and Kire Galevski. Also included in the exhibition are protest posters by Zoran Cardula and Nebojsa Gelevski, photocollages by Alksander Dojranliev and a video montage of public actions by Nebojsa Gelevski.

Robert Atanasovski is Macedonian correspondent for Agence France Presse, currently working for the web portal He has been editor of photography and photo reporter for dailies such as "Dnevnik"; "Vreme" and "Nova Makedonija." His work had been recognized and acquired by numerous international photo agencies.

Vanco Dzambaski has been photographing throughout his life. He began focusing on citizen protests in 2007, a year marked--in his words--by a dramatic worsening of the political and economic situation in his country. He works for the Foundation Open Society Institute in Skopje, the Republic of Macedonia.

Kire Galevski is a Creative Director and Photographer of ID-Concept. He has worked as a staff photographer and editor for magazines such as "PULS Magazine," The Prague Tribune," "Velvet–Prague," "Makedonija Denes," and "FORUM." His photographs have been shown in solo and group exhibitions, within the Republic of Macedonia and internationally.

On the evening of Thursday, September 21 at 6:30pm in LI148 (the lecture hall next to the gallery), MSUB professors, Drs. Paul Foster and Elena Petroska, will discuss the context and relevance of the "Colorful Revolution" and its documentation in Macedonia and Europe. Dr. Foster will review the place of the "Colorful Revolution" in the long line of similar creative uprisings that have taken place in Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Dr. Petroska, who was an eyewitness of several demonstrations will share her personal account of the revolution while also providing more details on the photographs themselves.

Elena Petroska, a native of Skopje, Macedonia, is Professor of Macedonian Language and Linguistics at Sts. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje and teaches at MSUB. Dr. Petroska's current research focuses on issues of language use and identity.

Paul Milan Foster is the Director of the Office of International Studies and Outreach at MSU Billings. Dr. Foster is one of the last Montanans to live and work in the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and probably the first in the Republic of Macedonia.

"The High Stakes of Macedonia's Colorful Revolution" is organized by the Forum for Democratic Macedonia and is co-curated by Dr. Aneta Georgievska-Shine and Dr. Leanne Gilbertson.

The exhibition, reception, and discussion are co-sponsored by MSUB's Department of Art and MSUB's Office of International Studies.

We thank Robert Atansovski, Vanco Dzambaski and Kire Galevski for the unrestricted use of their photographs; Members of the group "Protestiram USA/Canada" for their financial support of the original exhibition and Elena Petroska for helping make crucial cultural connections.

The Northcutt Steele Gallery is located on the 1st floor of the Liberal Arts Building on MSUB campus. The gallery is open Monday – Friday from 8am-4pm, and by appointment.

For media inquiries and more images contact Leanne Gilbertson, Director of Northcutt Steele Gallery,; (406) 657-2903.


 Collage of protest posters designed by Zoran Cardula, 2016-present.
© Zoran Cardula


Robert Atanasovski, "Painted Justice", 2016, archival print, 16 x 20”
Taken on April 20, 2016, this photo shows the façade of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Macedonia. The Ministry came under especially strong attack by the protesters as a result of the blatantly partisan and legally untenable decision by the highest court of the country to uphold the President’s Amnesty of politicians who were being investigated for various abuses of the law. The protester is inscribing on the defaced building the first few letters of the phrase “Colorful Revolution.”
© Robert Atanasovski 


Ilya Varlamov and Nebojsha Gelevski, 06.06.2016 DRAW THE RED LINE, 6 p.m. in front of SJO, protest
This poster shows two of the activists in black & white against red ground, as they fling paint bombs on a government building.
Credit: Design:  Nebojsha Gelevski – Bane; Photo: Ilya Varlamov

»» A printable file of the exhibition postcard