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Dimitrov, Branko

Branko Dimitrov was born in a small village, 2000m above sea-level, in the southern area of the former Yugoslavia, a state that has now changed, with much conflict, into six different countries.

Branco started drawing and painting when he was a boy of 13 - "animals mostly" - and says that his style has evolved as he grew older. He has been painting professionally his entire adult life and has the ability to skillfully capture the eye and imagination of his audience.

His inspiration for the dramatic skies, depicted in his work, is the memory of the sky above his village of birth.

The explosions of colour and light, the moody skies and Branko's portraits, which capture the soul of the subject, never fail to inspire.

"In 1994 the trouble started in Yugoslavia. It was Christain versus Muslim, Serb versus Croat and, in spite of the fact that I am a Serb I was not interested in being part of the violence. I have a wife and, at that stage, two young daughters. If I had remained, I would have been expected to pick up a gun and shoot people. I was not prepared to do that."

"I came to South Africa because South Africa was the only country to grant us a visa."

"In the beginning, it was very, very difficult," he says. "For seven months I had to sell clothing for a fellow Serb who had a business here. But I believe that if you have an ability and are prepared to keep on trying, you must eventually have some success. Now my work is shown around South Africa. I am content."