Michal Sirík – a naive painter from Sterkovce

By now, we know about naive art thanks to Miroslav Potoma, Stefan Telep, Teodor Kuziak and Nikifor. They all have their own signature when it comes to capturing the scenes connected to the everyday Rusyn life. So when you hear “Nikifor,” you should see the many views of Krynica, when you hear “Potoma,” the magic of the Rusyn past crosses your mind, and when you hear “Kuziak,” you recall the colorful Lemko villages. So what do you see when you hear “Sirik”?

Sirik’s paintings are highly praised, his work has received many awards. He started painting only when he retired in 1983 at the age of 58. Since then he entered into public and private collections of such collectors as John Warhola (Andy’s brother) or Peter Breiner (a famous pianist from Humenne, Slovakia living and working in New York)  and he exhibited in all the important naive art exhibitions in Europe (1). 

The fight by Michal Sirik. Source: http://www.nocka.sk/vytvarna_tvorba/vytvarne_spektrum/fotogaleria/sirik
The Fight by Michal Sirik. Source: http://www.nocka.sk/vytvarna_tvorba/vytvarne_spektrum/fotogaleria/sirik
Rusyn Christmas by Michal Sirik. Source: http://lakemichiganrusyns.blogspot.sk/2010_12_01_archive.html

What is mostly noticed about his compositions is the high number of figures, lots of colors, and the stories that are behind every grouping that carry the meaning of the scene. You get some amusement from observing the everyday life in the paintings, but you also get a sense of solemnity, as, for example, in the painting above, where the Christmas mood in the village is so beautifully captured.