This year’s conference was organised by the Croatian Women’s Network in collaboration with the Croatian Heritage Foundation. The exhibition held on the occasion featured the paintings of Ankica Perge Karačić, a native of Ilok now living and creating in Germany’s Iserlohn.
Ahead of International Women’s Day the Croatian Heritage Foundation played host on 6 March to an exhibition by independent artist Ankica Perge Karačić, and native of Ilok that now lives and works in the German town of Iserlohn. The exhibition opened on the occasion of the presentation of the 2020 Croatian Women of Influence and Future Leader awards presented by the Croatian Women’s Network™ based in the Canadian city of Toronto. Ms Perge Karačić is among the twenty-three women who took home an award and this is her first ever showing at the Croatian Heritage Foundation.
Ms Perge Karačić began her professional career in the 1970s as a fashion designer. As Croatia’s Homeland War for independence began in 1991, Perge Karačić settled in Germany with her family, where she joined the work of ethnic Croatian associations in Germany. Her career blossomed with a number of successful solo and group exhibitions, first in other European countries and then in South Korea, Iran, China, Peru and elsewhere. In 2000 she and husband Ante launched an art competition for children in the Croatian diaspora that has for the past two decades successfully gathered participants from the old homeland and from around the world. Over ten thousand children have participated to date, from twenty-one countries, guided by some four hundred mentor/teachers from three hundred different schools and associations. The submitted works have been exhibited at the Croatian Heritage Foundation on two occasions, across Croatia, and elsewhere in our European neighbourhood.
And while she has found time to create twenty series of works, this exhibition focuses on three series about herself. The core of the show is from her Oder Nicht—Životni put (“Or Not—The Journey of Life”) series of full-figure oil on canvas self-portraits. The second component is from her Sjećanje na Dunav i rodni Srijem (“Memories of the Danube River and Native Srijem Region”) series of wet-on-wet aquarelles. The third component is from her Klaunovi (“Clowns”) series of aquarelles.
Martin Durbek, an assistant at the Croatian Heritage Foundation’s School of Croatian Folklore and a student of the new integrated instrumental course of study of the tamboura as a solo instrument at Zagreb’s Academy of Music, was on hand to provide a musical backdrop to the exhibition opening. The award winners and guests were greeted by CHF director Mijo Marić, who noted how delighted he was that the Croatian Heritage Foundation was for the sixth time the host of a Croatian Women’s Network event. The exhibition was declared open by the president and founder of the network, Caroline Spivak.
The Croatian Women’s Network™ (www.CroatianWomensNetwork.org) staged its international conference on the day of the exhibition and held its presentation of Croatian Women of Influence and Future Leader awards on 7 March at the Westin hotel, gathering award recipients from Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and other European countries and overseas countries. The conference, like those to date, was organised in collaboration with and hosted by the Croatian Heritage Foundation, and included the exhibition and a reception for the award recipients.
At the conference, held under the moniker Advancing Women / Advancing Economies / Realize the Potential!, to welcome the participants were the network’s founder Caroline Spivak, CHF director Mijo Marić, Roman Catholic priest Marko Kovač on behalf of the Zagreb archdiocese, and Dario Magdić, the deputy state secretary at the State Office for Croats Abroad. Ably moderating the event was Mirjana Piskulić, the head of our information department and former Croatian general consul to Australia.
The conference presentations and panel discussions focused on the position of women in politics and diplomacy. Among the event participants were Members of Croatian Parliament Željka Josić, Irena Petrijevčanin Vuksanović, and Marijana Petir, Vera Tadić of the Croatian Diplomatic Club, Delfa Kosić, a member of the Salzburg municipal council for the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), and Ruža Tomašić, a Croatian deputy in the European Parliament.
This year’s conference, under the inspiring motto Women as Change Makers, was held under the auspices of the foreign and European affairs ministry, the State Office for Croats Abroad, the Croatian Heritage Foundation, the Archdiocese of Zagreb and its pastoral office for members of the church abroad, the economy, entrepreneurship and crafts ministry, the science and education ministry, the culture ministry, the City of Zagreb, the Croatian National Tourism Board, and the City of Zagreb Tourism Board.