My week painting with a Croatian, a Slovenian, a Serb, two Italians and a Calabrian.
In the Balkans there seems to be a respect and celebration of naïve and folk art unlike anywhere else I have discovered yet….
I have just participated in the 46th meeting of International Naïve Painters at the Galerija Likovnih Samorastnikov in Trebnje, Slovenia. I participated in the 43rd meeting which was also a wonderful experience and I now have two paintings in the permanent collection.
46 years ago the first art camp of naïve artists was held in Trebnje in 1968. Those artists were so enthused by the experience and the wish to collect and promote naïve art that a gallery was founded in 1971.
Ever since then the Trebnje Gallery has hosted many solo or group exhibitions as well as biennale of Yugoslav naïve art. Initially the art camps and exhibitions were focused on Yugoslav naïve art. However soon the annual meetings and exhibitions grew to an international scale and so far the gallery has a fund of almost 1100 art works by more than 270 artists from 40 countries (Europe, Asia, Africa and both Americas).
The gallery has toured its collection in different parts of Slovenia, former Yugoslavia, Musée International d’Art Naïf Vicqu and in Insita 94 National Gallery Bratislava. For all these years the gallery has been professionally supported by well established names in the art world.
My week painting alongside Dino Fiorini (Italy), Domenico Gallizzi (Calabria), Stjepan Ivanec (Croatia), Dobrosav Milojevic (Serbia), Brane Praznik (Slovenia) and Guido Vedovato (Italy) was inspirational and great fun. It is so interesting getting to understand the motivations of other painters; what makes them paint through the night after a long day a work? We found so much in common- except language! Although I managed to communicate with a bit of franglais/swedo/german with Italian/latin highlights.
My 2013 painting was about English Morris Dancing, illustrating Ripley Morris Men. My explanations of English Morris Dancing were somewhat ill-informed and the only reason I could think was the motivation of beer!! I have since been reassured by Morris Men themselves that the importance of beer cannot be overstated!
Everyday we were visited by about 100 school children who were very keen to learn about art and painting and practice their languages.
Slovenia is a wonderful holiday destination and we are so smitten we’ll be returning shortly to Trebnje and then Piran for a few days rest, food and good company!