ROMANA FAVIER ZORZUT
Numerous exhibitions, accolades and prizes are the anticipated results that drive the pictorial creativity of Romana Favier Zorzut. Motivation and representations are derived from spontaneous recognition and become numerous personal images. The curved lines of plums in selected colour tones ultimately unfold a variety of images of Australian heritage. The usual course, or path, of an artist is evident in her painterly expression.
Alenka Černelič Krošelj, Lecturer of Art History, Ethnologist and Cultural Anthropologist
Romana was born in Goriška Brda in 1930.
“When I was born, my birth place in Slovenia was part of Italy; after the WWII it became part of Yugoslavia and now it is a part of an independent Slovenia. Regardless of the ruling power I always knew that I am Slovenian.
I was deeply offended by Italians, that as a Slovenian, we were ‘Schiavi’ or’ Slavi’, which meant to me that we were worthless. Italians never gave us recognition for our intelligence. We were always repressed as powerless slaves and had to serve the ignorant masters. Neverthless, we depended on Italians for employment. That is why I searched for a different future and chose Australia.
In 1947 our part of Primorska became a part of Yugoslavia. I remember my father saying: ‘We had Italian gypsies lording over us, now we have Yugoslav gypsies.’
I undertook nursing training at Melbourne Hospital.
Once married, I focused on being a wife and a mother until our daughters grew up, but when they left home I took art more seriously.
I needed my work – my art – to overcome the sadness when my daughter died and we moved to Bright. I completely immersed myself in painting. People enjoyed and praised my work. I believe in doing my best and not worrying about what people say. Art was always my friend. It was there for me when I was homesick and when I was sad. It gave me hope, it paid my bills, and it helped me to overcome the unpleasant times.
Art gave me courage.
I have exhibited in Slovenian community in the clubs all over Australia and I contributed a painting to every Slovenian clubhouse so a part of me lives with all our people here.
I am enormously proud of our people and their achievements in Australia. I am also proud of Slovenia and our people at home.
Since I chose to come to Australia I also try to accept Australian culture and people. I feel at home with Australian people.
I always liked to draw and paint. I was overwhelmed by beautiful things in life and I needed to express in colour what I felt and what I experienced.
I attended evening art school after I arrived in Australia, but I learned mostly through experimentation. I like French impressionists but I haven’t really followed any particular style; I always looked for my own style and originality.
My first exhibition at Monash University in 1972 gave me great encouragement to keep my own style and present myself overseas. In 1976, I exhibited in my first overseas exhibition in Goricia, Italy.
During the last fifty years I have painted about 2500 pictures and I have had exhibitions all over the world. I have received awards and people have written about my work.
It has always been a great pleasure for me to capture on canvas something of what I love; I hope my paintings also give pleasure to people whose homes they decorate.
Giving pleasure is as important to me as it is receiving it. I enjoy painting pictures and seeing the pleasure and richness they give the people who purchase them, be it in a public gallery or a private home. I also like painting subjects that have pleasant memories – subjects that I express with an understanding I can share with the general viewer.
I learned to accept the things I cannot change and try to be happy with what I have. I sometimes wonder if I would be a great artist if I spent less of myself on my family and more on art. But my family is also my inspiration.
I am still very adventurous and feel there is more out there for me to experience and learn in the beauty of life.
I painted life as I found it – I painted what touched my soul; I looked for beauty and expressed it in my oils. I was fortunate that I met many artists who encouraged me and showed me the way.
I have moved to new challenges – its not good for me to dwell on past. I put my soul into painting – I find hidden beauty in the peaceful vastness that is Australia. Paintings are bold and colourful. I am mindful of the fact we are ambassadors for Slovenia, so I represent Slovenia in a positive light.
Some people like to sleep in the earth, but I like to sleep in the air.«
Romana undertook a long study-visit to France and to Spain in 1978. She also travelled to Germany where she had a solo exhibition in Dietzenbach (Frankfurt). She had many exhibitions in Slovenia as well: Dobrovo castle, Šempeter near Gorica.
With regard to painting techniques, a heavy impasto is typical of these images: the objects and figures are merely indicated with the deformation of reality we know, for instance, from the period of Expressionism.
The content of the pictures from this cycle oscillates between horror and hope, this frame of mind being even emphasised by the contrasts of light where the painter succeeds in creating interesting pictorial effects – referring to the ‘Earthquake Series. . .’ The chosen subject matter is depicted chiefly as a light and colour phenomenon, so there is no sparing of colours, and to contrast, these are applied in thick layers and with a decisive painterly gesture. In landscape, an emphasis on the atmosphere is obvious, and in the depiction of the human figure, there is a tendency toward portraying its inner, spiritual world.
Romana also proves with her work that she is not ignorant of the newer artistic movements, of Impressionism, Expressionism and Neo-Impressionism in particular. However, she avoids experimenting and, as the majority of amateur artists, occupies helself with traditional painting themes, among which landscape, still-life and portraits are of chief inportance in Western art.”
Professor Vuk, director of the Kromberk Museum in Nova Gorica, has taken the responsibility of keeping the Earthquake Collection in the Museum’s archives until the paintings find a permanent home in Nova Gorica in the municipality of Brda, Slovenia.
1970, 1973, 1974 – Wireglass Gallery, Melbourne
1975 – Department of Mathematics, Monash University, Melbourne
1976 – Il-Torchio Gallery, Gorizia, Italy; Velenje, Slovenia
1977 – Slovenian Association Melbourne, Wireglass Gallery, Melbourne
1978 – Goricia, Italy; Gallery Wagner – Frankfurt, Germany
Galerija Rika Debenjaka, Kanal na Soči
1979 – Wireglass Gallery, Melbourne
1981 – Sydney, Elwood Gallery, Melbourne
1981, 1983 – Elwood Gallery, Melbourne
1984 – Sydney
1985 – Wireglass Gallery, Melbourne
1986 – Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia
1987 – Castle Dobrovo, Slovenia; Galerija Rika Debenjaka, Kanal na Soči
1988 – Villa Opicina, Trieste, Montmorency, Melbourne,
Gallery Wagner – Dietzenbach, Germany
1990 – Yarrambat, Melbourne
1993 – Favior House, Canberra, Castle Dobrovo, Slovenia
1994 – Castle Dobrovo, Slovenia, Kostanjevica, Slovenia
1995 – Bright Spring Time Festival
1998 – Bright Autumn Festival
1999 – Italiafest Crown Casino, Melbourne
Creators Gallery, Wodonga
2000 – Italiafest Crown Casino, Melbourne
2001 – Mestna galerija, Ljubljana, Slovenia
2002 – Vancouver, Port Albany, Canada
Medical Centre De Lorenzi, Nova Gorica, Slovenia
Šmartno, Goriška Brda, Slovenia
The Festival of the Arts, Australia, 1981
Annual Art Exhibition, Best Exhibit of Art Show, 1981
Exhibition Piccolo Spoleto, International Honorary Award, Australia, 1986