Ivan Horvat’s photography, eternalizing the rural architecture in the area around the village of Lemeš (Svetozar Miletić) and the town of Sombor, are on exhibit at the Croatian Heritage Foundation.
An exhibition featuring the work of Hrvatska Riječ weekly photojournalist Ivan Horvat opened on 29 November during the 25th CHF Croatian Minorities Forum. The project is part of the Salaš Farmsteads Through the Year joint programme of the Croatian Heritage Foundation and the Association of Danubian and Vojvodina Croatians. The farmstead is referred to locally in this region as a salaš. Fourteen panels of photography feature the rural architecture in the area around the village of Lemeš (Svetozar Miletić) and the town of Sombor in different seasons. Ambient music was provided for the event by two young members of the I. G. Kovačić ensemble, playing the Bunjevo round dance on the bisernica and bugarija type tamboura instruments.
The exhibition was presented by the head of our culture department Snježana Jurišić in lieu of photographer Horvat who, unfortunately, was unable to attend the opening. True photography, she noted, comes of itself: you see the moment and capture it. Jurišić further noted the fascinating aspect of photography which is able to encapsulate both a documentary moment frozen in time and the artist’s intervention in choosing the optimal moment, position, lighting, colour saturation and so forth.
Antun Vujević, president of the Zagreb-based Association of Danubian and Vojvodina Croatians, welcomed the Forum participants from Serbia (Vojvodina), North Macedonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Montenegro and Croatia, and the event guests. He was followed by Ines Vujević with a recital of Salaš u snigu (“The Farmstead in Snow”), a poem by the late Croatian priest Aleksa Kokić. Ethnology specialist and professor Milana Černelić, who has dedicated a significant part of her research to the topic of the Bunjevo Croats, spoke of the significance of the salaš farmstead. Marija Zaić Kubatović discussed the circumstances in which the photographs were produced, recalling her childhood and the custom of visiting the crèche (nativity scene) that helped the farm children experience Christmas. Kubatović also mentioned the exhibited photographs of salaš farmsteads documented by the Matarić family. The exhibition was declared open by CHF deputy director Ivan Tepeš, with the sounds of tamburitza music accompanying visitors through the exhibited photographs, from salaš to salaš, those of Lajča and Stipan Vujović in autumn, Marko Cipoka and A. Kopilović in Lemeš in the winter and in the summer.
Architect Josip Parčetič beautifully summed up the salaš farmsteads and people when he observed that, “The salaš [farmstead] and its people are born together, live together, complement one another, and, in the end, die together. The salaš is created by our hands from the sun, the soil, water, wood, reeds and lime mortar.” It was all there for the visitors to the exhibition to take home as good custodians and keepers of our heritage.
By: Diana Šimurina-Šoufek
Photography: Snježana Radoš