New East Digital Archive

Neo: experimental Serbian fashion project explores the mythology of the Khazars

13 September 2017

Serbian fashion and art initiative NEO design have launched their latest project ATEHNEO, a literature-inspired collection that draws on the culture and mythology of the Khazar people.

ATEHNEO sees designer Nevena Ivanović collaborate with photographer Irena Fabri and dancers Tibor Šmit and Slobodan Spalević to create a narrative centred on the mystical Khazars — a semi-nomadic Turkic people that once lived along the Volga river, an area that has throughout history experienced near constant movement and migration. The collection takes its name from Khazar princess Ateh, a teacher and sorceress.

Taking inspiration from Serbian writer Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars (Hazarski rečnik), Ivanović uses transition and the mixing of cultures as the start point for the ATEHNEO collection, utilising traditional techniques and folkloric motifs.

Fabri captures the interaction between the two dancers within the setting of Šumarice Memorial Park in Kragujevac, which commemorates the victims of the Second World War. The dancers move around the Circles (Krugovi) sculptural monument: two interconnected steel discs that echo the forms taken on by the figures.

By reflecting on the theme of migration within the context of an anti fascist monument, the team behind this collaborative project seek to offer a visual representation of a new model for coexistence.