The exhibition celebrates the 115th anniversary of the founding of HKD Napredak and offers a retrospective of the society’s publications held by the National and University Library relevant to the society’s wealth of work in the field of culture, starting from the revival of the society in 1990 through to 2015. The exhibition catalogue features sixty-three bibliographic entries.
The atrium of Zagreb’s National and University Library is the venue for the Napredak: 1990 to 2015 exhibition, staged by the national library and the Napredak Croatian Culture Society and opened on the 12th September. The exhibition celebrates the 115th anniversary of the founding of HKD Napredak (Napredak Croatian Culture Society) and offers a retrospective of the society’s publications held by the National and University Library relevant to the society’s wealth of work in the field of culture, starting from the revival of the society in 1990 through to 2015. The exhibition catalogue features sixty-three bibliographic entries, describing the exhibits with copies of the various book covers and cover pages, and a bibliography of all of the Napredak publications issued from 1990 to 2015. This attests to the successful collaboration of these two institutions – in 2002 Napredak also celebrated its one hundredth anniversary at Zagreb’s National and University Library.
Opening the event was national library director Tatijana Petrić PhD. She spoke of the longstanding and successful collaboration of the national library and the Napredak society. She expressed her gratitude to all those who had contributed to this event, above all the author of the exhibition and editor of the accompanying catalogue Ivan Kosić PhD.
The long-standing president of the society, associate professor at the University of Sarajevo’s Faculty of Catholic Theology professor Franjo Topić PhD, recalled the very diverse sets of circumstances in which the Napredak headquarters in Sarajevo and its various chapters have operated in the past, especially during the grim wartime periods, concluding that the association has survived because “Napredak’s humane idea has never worn thin. Napredak did not stop working even during wartime. The papers wrote about us saying that we were working in the midst of the war as if there was no war. The people working with Napredak have always been volunteers. We have worked here and continue to work solely out of love. We never conceded that something was impossible. And we won!” Speaking about the current challenges Topić said that, “SMS and digital technologies are now trying to supplant the book, but there is no true knowledge without books! We here at Napredak have once again not capitulated to the situation. We are doing the best we can and do not hanker for the Swedish or Swiss model of living, but are rather trying to make the best of the circumstances we are faced with. We have never helped anyone leave their native soil but we have certainly helped many to stay. Back in 1992, at the height of the war, I said that in a battle between weapons and ideas, ideas always win. It’s all about ingenuity! Napredak works in the domain of culture and invests a great deal of effort to do so at the highest calibre. We are esteemed around the world as an association for the whole of humanity. If, then, we all do what we know to the best of our abilities, believe me, we will all see progress being made.”
The Napredak Croatian Culture Society was founded in 1902 with the mission of providing support for the education of young people. Up to 1949 the society provide schooling or assisted in the schooling of some sixteen thousand pupils and students, including writer Ivo Andrić and chemist Vladimir Prelog, well-known recipients of the Nobel Prize, and many other painters, poets and others whose lives and work have contributed significantly to the cultural and scientific heritage of this region. The society was banned in 1949 and revived in 1990. Since then Napredak has granted over 2,850 scholarships and support packages and has published over 550 books. Indicative is the fact that in one year alone (2015) Napredak staged some six hundred culture events, two a day on the average, among its 65 chapters across Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Napredak is also active in Austria, Germany, Canada and the United States of America.
The exhibition will be open through to the 29th of September and Napredak has invited all supporters and sympathisers to come out for a humanitarian concert to be staged at the Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on the 7th of October, starting at 8:00 pm, with all ticket proceeds going to the Napredak student scholarship fund.