SLOVENIAN ARTISTS AND SCULPTORS IN AUSTRALIA
the Slovenian immigrants who came to their adopted country where they hoped to make a better life for themselves.
Their thoughts and feelings motivated them to express themselves creatively.
Their inner feelings about the new surroundings in which they found themselves are recorded in a variety of styles and art forms.
They, each in their own way, attempted to deal with desperate homesickness and celebrate their new home in new country of freedom.
All the biographical notes of the artists were prepared by Draga Gelt and Liliana Eggleston Tomažič, and artists supplied the information
Draga Gelt and Liliana Eggleston Tomažič, Anthology of Slovenian Artists and Sculptors in Australia, 2010, 396 pages
Through distant eyes: committed diversity of the ‘adopted world’
Pictorial expression is one of many ways that humans create. Through images which are created by human intellect in co-ordination with the hand, and with the assistance of methods and medium, various intimate images and events in the artist’s life are able to be uncovered. Arising from, and because of these events, the artist responds to external influences from the past and in the present and has visions to create the future.
The tales of artists are stories of departure and living far from the homeland and these simultaneously divide and unite them. As their art knowledge, their horizons, formal and non-formal education are varied so, too, do the results of their work vary. Works are diverse, as are the methods of execution and artist’s viewpoints.There is a common thread in the visual creations which, to some, represent everyday life and a means of support, while to others, it is a fulfilment of childhood desires and dreams. In some instances it is an avenue for depicting ideas, or to fill in time, where even if the result is not professionally executed, it is nevertheless an expression of self.
This collection of works represents all branches of creativity with the intention not of dividing but of uniting artists who are on similar journeys. Biographical inserts bear witness to different generations on different paths of artistic endeavour; of diverse representations and depictions according to the market; and evidence of untameable creative imaginings, of intermingling and overlapping of numerous paths, as they go from one country to another, merging to form something entirely new, uniting tradition, heritage, and identity while creating something uniquely different. The work of an art historian is to translate creative arts, or to be the medium between the artist and the public. When there is the opportunity for a longer consultation with the artist, it is easier to get some insight into the artist’s creativity, views, understanding of art and technical knowledge, together with the artist’s viewpoint and the method implemented to produce the completed artwork.With such an extended knowledge of artists, our work is easier – we can regard more clearly their styles, views, understanding of art, technical knowledge and final products. Without personal contact and less insight into the artist, appraisal of their artwork is more technical in nature. The art historian needs to feel empathy with the creator of the artworks, to recognise their attitude and read their artistic story. Appraisal of technical knowledge and ability is but one small aspect of a variety of criteria. Writing without knowing the person is less subjective, so the artist’s works only speak on behalf of the artist, while understanding of their works is conveyed solely by the words of the art historian.
The short appraisals or notes reflect different generations and different stories woven into one publication.In the diversity of this collection of artwork, common characteristic features can be found. The biggest difference between Slovenian and Australian hobby artists is in the choice of colour. Colours used by Slovenian artists are seldom pronounced, courageous or bold, largely remaining in the range of greens to browns with hues of blues. To the Slovenian-born Australian artists, Australia presents them with bright colours, born in the fire and the sun: such colours produce better colour effects for the depiction of different faces and personalities of the landscape. The almost ‘unconscious’ use of traditional green and blue tones jumps into their creativity as a legacy of the beauty of their first homeland, which is the most loved, therefore becoming the most frequently used motif.
Influences are evident not only of Slovenian origin but also of global trends, often developing from Slovenian images and turning into others. In the diversity of styles we also find similarities.Realism, depicting the landscape, follows a certain path of technically good composition and completion with smaller or larger deviations – the results of an individual’s exploration for appropriate artistic expression. A few are noted artists, some are sculptors, and others employ various techniques and methods of expression in their creations.The intention of this outstandingly valuable publication is not for judging and classifying by standards of quality, but to give recognition to contemporaries’ extensive and varied creative productions. For this reason alone, it is a significant document. By introducing these artists, many branches of visual creativity are revealed, as are many similarly travelled paths. This knowledge is invaluable not only for preserving cultural legacies but also for widening horizons for those who continue to create. This in turn provides a common ground with those who just enjoy art and adopt it for their homes, work places, meeting points and contemplations.
The featured artists can be categorised as:
those who waited a long time to be able to realize childhood dreams and talents,
those who guard memories of their homeland and are able to bring them to others,
those, who create only rarely, or when they are inspired at that ‘certain moment’,
some who, along various ‘branches of creativity’, have fulfilled their lives by creating,
and others who have merged all of the above.
They are all part of this expanded tree and welcome us onto their branches, into their shadow, and wait for us to absorb some of their yield. On this tree there are numerous memories, sights from childhood, and boundless dreams. Around this tree circulate free thoughts, imaginative spirit, great creativity and inventive devotion.
With colourful sketches, ideas and compositional accents they create a unique world – a world their homeland offered and the artist embraced as their own – a world they share with us.
Dedicated, unstopping and ever flowing with ideas . . .
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist, Anthology of Slovenian Artists and Sculptors in Australia
Disclaimer: Written permissions for the artists’ web pages were recieved from the participating artists and/or on their behalf (Fr Ciril A. Božič OFM OAM for Stanislav Rapotec (dec.), France Benko (dec.) and Cveto Mejač (dec.); Samo Vojsk for Father Milan Vojsk (dec.); Marica Birsa for Irena Birsa (dec.).
NOTE: The text of Alenka Černelič Krošelj, the thoughts about each artist, were translated from Slovenian language to English by Dr Elizabeth Tomažič
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and all science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead:
his eyes are closed.”
“Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us.”
To view the pdf file of the book by Draga Gelt and Liliana Eggleston Tomažič click here: Anthology of Slovenian Artists and Sculptors in Australia
Internationaly Acclaimed Slovenian Artists