Art goes Underground
International Art Auction for the Benefit of the Centre for Children without Parental Care “DUGA”
After 4 years of promising that I will go to Munich to join and be present at Action for the Benefit of the Centre for Children without Parental Care “DUGA” and visit my good friend, artist & old spirit, Milan Mihajlović, I finally managed to do so. My paintings have been sold on this auction since 2014 and I have been supporting the Centre for Children without Parental Care “DUGA” through their Art Colony/ Fondacija Centar Duga Art – Foundation Art Center Rainbow, Kulen Vakuf (BiH) (in the rest of the text mentioned just as Foundation Duga) since 2009. It is only art colony that I attend to, and only one that I could see (and feel) direct benefits of my contribution. Also this colony has granted me with circle of good friends with the same goal as mine, to be actively involved and to continue with the support of the Centre. Unfortunately, last year we suffered a great loss of Admir Lješčanin, a founder and first director of the orphanage. My confronted feelings of love, anger and hope have been captured on my painting The Great Wave of Kameido, Daydream 2009-2017 that went on the sale on this action. Last year’s auction was postponed for this year and with the heavy feeling, yet also with hope, we (Sabina Lješčanin, now President of the Duga Foundation, her daughter, Nermin Delić and Adnan Dupanović of the City Gallery Bihać, and I) parted from Bihać to Munich.
From the left, Sabina Lješčanin (Directors of Duga Center) and her daughter, Hrvoje Mitrov (Croatian painter – Ateliers Žitnjak), Adnan Dupanović (Director of the City Gallery Bihać), Nermin Delić (Curator at the City Gallery Bihać), Alem Korkut (Croatian/Bosnian sculptor – Ateliers Žitnjak), Amir Omerović (German/Bosnian sculptor), Milan Mihajlović (German/Bosnian painter – Wiede-Fabrik Atelier) and Anica Glavaš (German/ Herzegovinian painter – Wiede-Fabrik Atelier)
Short History of the Center for Children without Parental Care Duga (Rainbow),
Art Colony Duga and Foundation Duga
In January 1996 a convoy of humanitarian help by Hilfsgüter der Kriegskindernothilfe (KKNH) Roth and Ökumenischen Friedenskreises Schwabach (ÖFKS) was sent to Bihać. What they found out was a number of orphans living in horrible conditions either in hospital or on the street. This led them to raise funds for founding and building the House for Orphans Duga and it was opened on 1 November 1999. In 2001 Schutzengel gesucht (Gardian Angel Wanted) NGO was formed in Georgensgmünd to provide constant support for the Center. Admir Lješčanin, a war refugee who lived in Schwabach, was pointed a director of the Center. Since then over 300 children (infants and toddlers up to the age of 6) found home in the Centre.
In 2002, and with the idea of Boško Marjanović, a journalist and an ecologist, and in partnership with the City Gallery Bihać (with Nermin Delić as Director at the time) a first Art Colony was held with the support of local artists. Since 2004 the Colony has become regional event and since 2009 Colony has become an international event, with artists coming from all around world.
Foundation Duga was formed in 2008 as necessity to overcome administrative obstacles and separate organizational and administrative work for fundraising, auctioning and organizing art colony from the Center. As of 2009 Foundation Duga and Schutzengel gesucht have been in partnership for supporting the Center. Admir Lješčanin acted as the President of the Board of Directors of the Foundation Duga and as Director of the Center for Children without Parental Care Duga. On 28 April 2017 Admir passed away, leaving huge gap to fill. In 2017 both Art Colony and auction in Munich were postponed for 2018.
Milan Mihajlović and Wiede-Fabrik Ateliers
In 2010 Amir Omerović, a sculptor from Bremen with Bosnian background, became enrolled in Art Colony. He was a student for a year at the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo in 1998 and he stayed in touch. As he visited Colony for the first time, he immediately became actively involved. In the beginning he was the connection between the Colony and German artists, and in this way Milan Mihajlović and artists from Wiede-Fabrik Ateliers became involved in 2011. He also organized auction for Duga in Berlin in 2012, which then, in a way, moved to Munich in 2013, because of Milan and Wiede-Fabrik.
Wiede-Fabrik Ateliers was founded in mid 1990s in the premises of Wiede-Acetylen-Werke Factory. The Factory was using flammable materials that led to construction of segmented halls ideal for separated studios. The owner of the factory decided to dedicate space for artists to rent, and it soon became home/studios for Munich artists. The entrance gate with sign ALTE WIEDE FABRIK makes a way to 15-16 small buildings with studios of 26 artists. First to the right is Milan´s atelier.
When we arrived Milan was away for very important event in Belgrade, Serbia. Instead of him, Hrvoje Mitrov, a Croatian painter associated with Ateliers Žitnjak and who just opened exhibition in Gdansk, Poland was waiting for us with hot meal. Soon we were joined by Milan, Amir Omerović and Alem Korkut, Croatian/Bosnian sculptor associated with Ateliers Žitnjak (also a professor at Sculpture department of the Academy of Fine Arts Zagreb, Croatia), and for the next few days Milan´s atelier became support center for the auction’s last minute preparations, exchange of ideas for possible improvements and news ideas for the future. We also used time to reflect how our mutual connection grown stronger through Admir Lješčanin and how we feel that, now more than ever, we need to continue with the good work.
The auction was held in a basement of the old abandoned gallery that was closed for a year in a building that is destined to be grounded in next year. This was possibly last exhibition to be held there. It was truly Art Goes Underground event. First we had to clean everything up…
… then we placed art works on the walls. Next day we freshened it up with dozens of candles, set up the bar, placed the seats. Soon after that, some of the first visitors started to arrive. This auction has certain number of dedicated supporters, and since it is a good way to buy artworks of old and newly recognized artists for less amount of money compared to the gallery prices, it always attracts new art collectors.
Only half of the artworks were selected for auctioning while the rest had fixed price, and most of them got sold during vernissage. This also leaves the way for the buyers who didn´t succeeded in acquiring the works during the auction to buy some of the works still not bought- a last chance not to go home empty handed. This time I had a chance of meeting with Stephanie Hösl, a dedicated supporter of the Foundation Duga and art collector who already has 3 of my works sold on the previous auctions. In the end it turned out to be a good night and money was gathered for the support of the Center.
What can be better than spending time with friends, while doing something that is good and meaningful, something that will enrich, even in a small way, some young ones’ life? A compassionate work that will benefit the Center and leave the trace much deeper in our hearts, heal the wound of the lost friend. What else can we do, if not stand firmly with unquestioned resolve and contribute more. There is also a space for improvement and we are left with the time to do so.
For more information please visit these links
About the Center http://www.centar-duga.info/o-nama/
Foundation Duga http://www.art.centar-duga.info/en/
Schutzengel gesucht https://www.schutzengel-gesucht.de/
City Gallery Bihać http://www.ggbihac.ba/
Amir Omerović http://www.amiromerovic.de
Wiede Fabrik http://www.wiede-fabrik.de/
Milan Mihajlović https://milan-mihajlovic.com/
Ateliers Žitnjak http://a-z.hr/en/