Well-known Croatian Artists Gather for a Humanitarian Action, but Create So Much More

Total Croatia News

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On Saturday the 7th April, well-known artists gathered at Hotel Split for a humanitarian action, Total Split was there to witness the magic in motion.

When I was invited to an ‘Artist Colony’ at Hotel Split, I had no idea what to expect. Well-known local artist Anamarija Botteri Peruzović invited us to come to Hotel Split on Saturday the 7th April to see the ‘artists in action’ and we got so much more than we bargained for.

As we stepped into the conference room, we were greeted by an explosion of colour and energy, a rare sight to see some of the region’s top artists all gathered in one place to paint, artists included – Antun Botteri Dini, Hrvoje Marko Peruzović, Anamarija Botteri Peruzovic, Antun ‘Boris’ Švaljek, Sanja Taraš Praničević, Ivana Puljić, Karin Grenc, Daria Lepkova, Nina Petrović, Ivan Listes, Luka Duplančić, Ivan Bučni Svagusa, Danijela Šušak and Boris Šitum.

The atmosphere felt magic and was soon accentuated by the voices of the artists as they all joined in harmony to sing traditional acapella songs.

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Luka Duplančić

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Anamarija Botteri Peruzović

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Hrvoje Marko Peruzović

‘Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and charm and gaiety to life…’ (author unknown) So, to be standing in a room filled with such harmony, talent and witnessing the creation of art first-hand, is probably as close to creative paradise as one can get. Anamarija agreed, saying “for the artists, to be with our soulmates, painting and singing all together, this, is a piece of heaven; and to paint in such an environment with our peers, infuses the artwork with this beautiful energy.”

But it gets better, this group of artists didn’t just gather for the fun of it, every year they hold an Art Colony to create artwork for the Children’s hospital as a humanitarian action. Two years ago, they all gathered for the first time to paint canvases for the Children’s Hospital. This year, as well as painting canvases which will be auctioned off to raise money to purchase much-needed equipment for the children’s hospital, four of the artists also visited the hospital and painted 16 children there.

Artists – Luka Duplančić, Sanja Taraš Praničević, Daria Lepkova and Anamarija Botteri Peruzovć, visited the hospital to paint or sketch portraits of some of the children. When asked about the experience, Anamarija said –

 ‘We were greeted by such young children, all sitting so still, with a certain sorrow in their eyes and wisdom beyond their 3 or 4 years. We knew all the children were chronically ill, but the doctors didn’t tell us what illnesses they have until we were finished (which in hindsight was very wise). They were so wonderful, so quiet, we didn’t think they would be able to sit still long enough, but they immediately understood it was important. They were so happy once we started, I think maybe because we were looking at them with different eyes. I was talking to them while painting, their smiles lit up their faces; as I was sketching, I was asking them – ‘would you like long hair, or what colour dress would you like?…’ We painted them as they wanted to be. I even painted a mother holding her young son, she was so beautiful, I think even Mestrović himself would have been in awe.

 It was extremely inspiring for us, a feeling beyond words, almost like a pilgrimage. I believe we will do this again, perhaps even more than once per year, it meant just as much to us artists as it did to the children and their families; and who knows, maybe from that small interaction, a child may grow up to be an artist one day, we never know the impact of our actions.

Anamarija went on to explain that they are so grateful to be able to come together as a community of artists, to do what they love and contribute to the commuity. Anamarija had this idea for the Art Colony 2 years ago and it was immediately recognised and supported by Elisabeth & Mladen Tomić, the owners of Hotel Split. They have a long-standing friendship and have been in collaboration for years – the ‘gallery’ of Hotel Split standing as testament to this. Anamarija explained that Dr. Saraga from the Children’s hospital also supports the initiative and loves to encourage a connection between the children and the arts.

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Karin Grenc

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Daria Lepkova (left) and Ivana Puljć (right)

Auction of the canvases painted during this art colony will be held sometime before Christmas, so we look forward to sharing more from this story.

Meeting people like this incredible group of artists are some of the many reasons I love Split and this was an experience I will not soon forget.

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Hrvoje Peruzović and Antun ‘Boris’ Švaljek


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