Like numerous painters, Irena Birsa’s memories of ‘home’ and surroundings are pictorially depicted, not as many know it, but in abstracted drawing, line and colour. Blue and green create an atmosphere in which the tones of the domestic architecture are transformed and memories of it are confronted by the golden yellow of the breadth of Australia.
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist
Irena was born in 1961 in Melbourne.
She attended Coburg Primary School then Mercy College, Coburg, and matriculated in 1979. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from La Trobe University in May 1984 and attained a Postgraduate Bachelor of Education in March 1985.
She continued her studies and for her Masters of Education she researched a thesis on Slovenian immigration to Australia. On the day of her death, on 24th April 1991, she had been participating in a Seminar on the Ethnic Press in Australia. She died in Ljubljana.
For her articles and essays published posthumously in a book, she was awarded the degree of Masters of Education from La Trobe University in March 1994.
Irena was an idealist, a talented artist and worked in a variety of painting media: oil, coloured inks, charcoal and coloured pencils. Her motivation was mainly from her beloved Slovenia. Among her paintings we find Slovenian houses, old homesteads and Australian landscapes.
Her goal in life was to find peace. Originality was her life. Fair and just ideals were also her life, as expressed in her paintings where she trusts us with some of her inner feelings. Her respect of nature wound into a veil of mystique, her feelings being a rainbow of warmth and hope in the morning dew.
Irena wrote poems as well.
THOUGHTS found in her Notebook in 1981.
Life is but a passing thought,
It drifts beyond our consciousness:
When alternative topics do not avail,
The question of life is what we sought.
Although we can never conclude,
We attain an inevitable peacefulness
And gain in our hearts,
A sense of solitude.