On hand for the opening of the exhibition of the work of this political émigré was a Croatian Heritage Foundation delegation headed by director Marin Knezović.
Perušić Municipality Day, the 14th of September, was the occasion for the opening of a permanent exhibition of the work of painter Kristijan Kreković, whose father was a native of the town. Political and other circumstances saw Kristijan Kreković spend much of his life in faraway Peru, where he went on to become one of the world’s leading portrait artists. The exhibition is housed at the People’s Library and Town Hall.
Kreković never forgot his Croatian homeland and often incorporated its symbols into his paintings, now found around the world. His widow granted a part of his legacy to Croatia and thirty-three of these works are now on permanent exhibit in Perušić. One of the Lika region Annal events (Likanala) was dedicated to his work.
On hand for the opening of the Kreković exhibition on the 14th of September was a Croatian Heritage Foundation delegation headed by director Marin Knezović. Also on hand for the gala event in Perušić was Damir Murković, president of the Croatian Community in Trst (Trieste, Italy) and of the Federation of Croatians in Italy, which gathers some sixty thousand ethnic Croatians living in this southern European country.
Speaking at the opening Eva Brunović, a sector head at the Ministry of Culture, said that “From this day Croatian emigrant painter Kristijan Kreković has yet another home in Croatia, in Perušić, and the permanent exhibition at the People’s Library will certainly be a great encouragement for Croatian and international audiences to learn more about the work of an exceptional Croatian-Peruvian painter that celebrated his homeland abroad. I wish also to congratulate all those involved in seeing this project through because, in the final tally, not only has one cultural institution been enriched with new content – very complex in its significance as a bond between emigrant and homeland Croatia – but we also now have another presentation of the cultural, historical and artistic value of our national identity.”
Speaking of the restoration aspect of the project the Croatian Conservation Institute’s Darko Ivić noted that, “Our role was that of a mediator. We have cared for the paintings since 1996 and now we have this permanent exhibition and I hope Perušić will enjoy these paintings.”
“It all began with the 2012 Likannal event, dedicated to Kreković, who was at the time not well known of in Croatia. We were fortunate to have the support of people from Perušić to Zagreb and the project has now been achieved,” said Vesna Bunčić, director of the Museum of Lika in the town of Gospić.
“Kristijan Kreković was one of the world’s leading portrait artists. Today we repay a debt of love for the homeland. This story has been in the work for the past five years,” said Ljerka Galic of the Croatian Heritage Foundation.
Speaking at the event Perušić deputy mayor Dragan Hećimović noted that, “This is a big event for our small town; we will faithfully care for these paintings and exhibit them for our visitors.”
Ličke novine newspaper, photos by: Marko Čuljat – Lika Press / photos by: Darko Plahtan