Opening October 2015
The versatile and multi-talented Slovenian artist Svetlana Makarovič (b.1939), a writer, poet, actress, composer, singer, illustrator and director has left a distinctive mark on all aspects of Slovenian cultural life. Her fairy tales are loved by children and young readers alike, although she claims that her target readers are actually adults who have kept their child-like nature but are not childish. Her fairy tales are recognized by her unique style, they are inhabited by animals with character features which reflect flaws and weaknesses of human beings. Makarovič has received wide recognition for her versatile body of work, including the Sterijevo Pozorje Prize (1968), The Prešeren Award (1976), the Prešeren Award for Lifetime Achievement (2000), the Republic of Slovenia Golden Order for Merits (2009), the Levstik Award for Lifetime Achievement (2011), the Golden Coin of Poetry (2012). In 2011 she was awarded the honorary Freedom of the City of Ljubljana. Although she officially retired in 1997, she remains active and creative.
In her polemical writings, most notably in her columns, Makarovič has always been uncompromisingly direct and critical of social injustice and of the intolerance to people who are ‘different’. She is a harsh critic of the Roman Catholic Church and of the ‘ever-present human idiocy’.
Mishmash Bakery ranks as one of her best tales. It won the Levstik Award in 1975 and has since then been included in the pantheon of Slovenian classic fairy tales.
The cheerful, humble and always smiling baker Mishmash is famous for making the best bread in the area. What is more, he makes his entire village happy by giving bread to the poor for free. Yet, keeps himself to himself and never sets foot in their houses. The nosy and wicked local miller, a woman called Yedrt, gets annoyed by him since he buys only three sacks of flour a month from her. It makes her furious that she has to take a cart every week to a neighbouring Chickenville and sell the flour to the Chickenville baker, and is determined to find out the true secret of Mishmash and his bread making.
Mishmash Bakery tells a story of the good baker who bakes the best possible bread to make people happy in his generosity, and of envy and malice that ultimately drives him from his village. It is also a story of a narrow-minded individual causing much grief and damage to the entire village. What is more, it is a story of the villagers who fail to stand up for the good baker and are foolishly taken in by the evil gossip. However, the kind-hearted baker refuses to allow such a community to rule his life.
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