Jožica Gerden places the individual in the forefront of her artworks, their origins and tales entwined with their existence. A picturesque quality is evident in the composition, and choice of colour is an important part of the narrative. Shades of red support the artist’s idea of perpetual fear, abounding energy (one of which is life blood), a shining future, and the optimism of the ‘woman with the cat’ surrounded by birds against a background of sky, is an optimistic self-portrait in which the Slovenian mountains reflect the beauty and colours of both lands.
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist
Jožica was born at Jezero, Trebnje, Slovenia.
At present working in the family business and as a community volunteer (president of Multicultural ‘Womans’ Association (10 years), Secretary of Slovenian National Council of Victoria (10 years) and Vice President of Slovenian World Congress for overseas countries (3 years) and coordinator of Slovenian radio program in Mildura.
Professional Art Training: TAFE College Mildura – La Trobe University, night classes for adults – art, painting, 3 years.
Exhibitions: several local Easter Exhibitions, Slovenian Religious and Cultural centre Kew, Slovenian Association Melbourne – Eltham and Slovenian club in Adelaide, Baraga Gallery, Trebnje, Slovenia
Major Awards, prizes: Second prize for watercolours in Adelaide; some ‘High Recommendations’; First prize in Ceramics for the Aboriginal couple.
“For me painting is the best medium for self expression. I started to paint when my beloved (Central European) homeland Slovenia was invaded and attacked by the Yugoslav army in 1991. This act of aggression against the Slovenian people left me feeling helpless as well as extremely concerned about the safety and wellbeing of my family in Slovenia.
I needed to balance the injustice and barbarity of the attack on Slovenia with the beauty of love and care which I felt for my homeland. Painting allowed me to express my juxtaposition of feelings – love and hate, pain and anger, justice and injustice. In art we are permitted to ‘carry our heart in the palm of our hands’.
I had wanted to paint since my childhood but never had the opportunity to do so. My inspirations have been the classic artists such as the Dutch masters, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, El Greco as well as my neighbour Joy Scherger who led me first into experimenting with watercolours for still-life and my talented daughter, Barbara, who introduced me to ceramics and general art.
My upbringing, life experiences and education have all contributed to making me the individual I am today and my artwork helps me express my longing for the beautiful land and people I loved and left behind, for example, Christmas in Slovenia, Reflection of Bled, Maria Help, Tearing of the Iron Curtain and Nostalgia.
I also like to express the religious beliefs of my childhood which have grown deeper with time, for example, Tibetan Mother, Mother Earth Gaia, 7 x 77 Times, my Lord?, Here I am Lord, Holy Man, St Francis of OZ.
In the ceramics field I have created many reproductions of antique dolls and have also restored many old and damaged church statues and nativity sets for