July 12, 2020 - As part of the cultural-educational project "Roads of Boka Croats", the exhibition "Partenza", by Croatian artist Renata Poljak, inspired by her family history, was opened on Friday at the Cultural Centre "Nikola Đurković" in Kotor.
The project "Roads of Boka Croats" is held under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović and the President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović.
The central focus of the exhibition is the film of the same name, "about expecting, waiting for a person who is to arrive over the seas", based on the story of the artist's great-grandfather who, due to poverty, left for Punta Arenas in Chile in the early 19th century, a journey which was to prove fatal, leaving her great-grandmother alone with two children.
As is made clear, this film is a universal story about waiting, about women who stayed and men who left, and at the very end, when it changes from black and white to colour, a parallel is drawn with the present.
The artist says that personal experience is always a part of her art projects that speak of the wider social picture; in that way the audience can more easily identify and feel true emotion. Through "Partenza", which means departure in Italian, she wanted to talk about the current migrant crisis, where thousands of people dying at sea.
"At that time, as today, it was very topical and infinitely tragic. After all the wars and everything we have survived, I was personally deeply affected by human suffering, migration, the huge number of people drowning and the Mediterranean, which has truly become a mass grave," said Poljak.
In addition to the video "Partenza", which is the beginning of the film trilogy, a series of photographs has been produced, and collages created, during the shooting. Photographer Dinka Radonić produced a set of photographs from which Poljak made collages.
The author considers the photographs to be particularly important "because when the audience leaves the hall, which is darkened, they still remain immersed in the emotion of the film, and the photographic collages complete the exhibition as a whole".
Renata Poljak was born in Split in 1974, where she graduated from the School of Fine Arts, and received her Master of Arts Degree from the École Régionale des Beaux-Arts in Nantes.
For her work, she received the Gold Black Box Awards at the Black Box Festival in Berlin (2006) and the T-HT Art Award (2012). She has exhibited in Croatia, but also in major world art centres such as Paris, Tokyo and New York.
Her Montenegrin exhibition will be open until July 20th.