Tag: carpatho-rusyn artist from serbia

Vladimir Dado Koljesar – with Kerestur in his heart

It was months ago that Gavra Koljesar, a former journalist from Novi Sad, Serbia, shared with me the works and the biography of his cousin, a Rusyn photojournalist, a documentary and a fine art photographer, Vladimir Dado Koljesar.

Koljesar was born in Novi Sad and lived in Ruski Kerestur his whole life. As a member of a club Druztvo, he supported the Rusyn language, culture and literature. He had five joint and seven solo exhibitions.

Vladimir was tightly connected to Kerestur, one of the oldest Rusyn towns. Gavra Koljesar writes: “Through his lens and on the film are captured the moments when Kerestur was happy and celebrating, but also when it was sad and crying.” No subject matter was too ordinary for him: plowing the field, fishing, Easter, school events, weddings, views of the nature… Koljesar was looking for poetry in the scenes around him, for simple, accessible, but innately beautiful rhymes that could be read and understood by everybody.

I think that Gavra is right to suggest that it was the two landmarks of Kerestur (the church and the castle, and their Rusyn-ness), which the artist saw growing up so readily from his house that unconsciously shaped his close relationship with the town. Being confronted with powerful testaments to faith, continuity and community reminds one about things that are larger than the self and towards those Koljesar was turning his lens.


Ljubica Fa-Hardi – making you see what you might miss

Ljubica Fa-Hardi was born and raised in Ruski Kerestur, Serbia, but in 2000 she relocated to Canada where she leads an active, artist/architect life, now in Saskatchewan. Ljubica does portraits and illustrations, she is an art instructor and architectural designer, but what she pointed out to me were her photographs. The works you see below belong to Kerestur 2012 Series and show just how much invention Ljubica is capable of, and how much soul she puts into her work.

Exploiting focus and intensely blurring the areas of choice plays with the viewer’s eye in somewhat disturbing ways, literally pushing it to find solace in the object with clear, sharp outlines. And in that find, a rush of emotions bursts out from such objects, and soothes the heart looking for meaning, for anchor. In some photographs, the close-up is so skillfully employed that you do not quite know what you are looking at, but the play of colors and shapes is so wonderful that it turns the photograph into a variation of a Color Field painting. In others, you find short glimpses of the past and present through the tiniest things that go often unnoticed… but not by her.

Vlado Njaradi – finding movement in stillness

I found out about this very active Rusyn artist from Vrbas, Serbia, through another Rusyn painter from the Balkans – Ljubomir Babinčak so I want to thank him again for this valuable connection.

Landscape (2008) by Vlado Njaradi
Courtesy of Vlado Njaradi

Vlado Njaradi’s oil paintings took me by surprise because I had not expected the wonderful innovation before looking at one of his oil paintings. The 2008 Landscape, which you can see above, feels so familiar, so near, almost as if you could breathe in the aura of that soft, unpretentious land. The soil is right there, coming out of the flat surface, convincing you of its realness, inviting you to crumble it between your fingers. Rendering the landscape in these muted, pastel tones enables the heavily grainy texture to stand out, leaving you with two impressions – the rootedness of life as something solid, yet fragile.

Ljubomir Babinčak – as the time flows

Getting in touch with Ljubomir Babinčak from Vojvodina, Serbia, really put me in a mood to think about the passing of time. He was born in what is easily one of the oldest Rusyn towns (Ruski Krstur), he was painting longer than I was alive and when you study his oil still-lifes and portraits, you get this unshakable feeling that the past is lost and gone, but still lingers in our present and – that it defines us. The candles almost burnt, the oil lamps proud and fancy, the irons no longer used, the pottery chipped and broken, and the ticking of that potent clock… All wonderful human achievements, all reminding us about our transience.

Source: Courtesy of Ljubomir Babincak

Vladimir Doroghazi – oil paintings

Vladimir Doroghazi lives and works in the second largest city in Serbia – Novi Sad. He is a trained artist who make a deep impression on the viewers with his softly rendered, hazed, brushed-in landscapes that look so barely-there that a simple puff of air might make them disappear back into the fantasy.

The trees, rivers, fields, houses and windmills all acquire in his work almost a fairytale-like beauty, and the meaning of many is slightly disturbed (or underlined?) by the repeated motive of a clay jar, unreal, but perfectly fitting in the painting’s composition.

Gavra Koljesar has compiled a wonderful online collection of Mr. Doroghazi’s paintings. You can access these collections here: Gallery 1 (still-lifes and views of the countryside), Gallery 2 (views of the villagers in their daily life) and Gallery 3 (clay jars).

Polish Road 2 
Source: Courtesy of Vladimir Doroghazi
The Dawn (oil on canvas)
Source: Courtesy of Vladimir Doroghazi