Jovana Popović Benišek, an academic painter from Sremski Karlovci, Serbia, has presented herself to the Montenegrin audience at the Modern Gallery in Budva, the Buca Gallery and other exhibition spaces in Tivat, also in Kotor, where she showed her works at the Festival of Light “Shining Palaces” last summer. She is on a brief visit to Boka Kotorska this summer.
The painter's eye is particularly fond of how Tivat has progressed in recent years, but is still more attached to the old stone houses in Boka, as the stone is a motive for her painting:
"After several years of not coming to Tivat, I noticed that it was progressing at a galloping pace, especially Porto Montenegro. The transition from the old part of the city and the entrance to Porto, as well as all these wonderful residential and commercial buildings, integrated with nature, are well done. Aesthetically pleasing and enjoyable to see! However, I love stone and this is my current preoccupation, since in the meantime, since my last stay here, I have mastered mural painting in Belgrade. At the moment I am doing mosaics and this stone is very inspiring to me. Before that, I have been doing a very interesting, and somewhat neglected, sgraffito technique, which belongs to wall painting. It is done in wet plaster - a very beautiful decorative technique, which decorates the facades, and can also create beautiful works for the interior. "
Jovana started coming to Tivat as a participant in the "Friendship Chain", a painting colony of Marija Rabrenovic, which lasted for a number of years. She has been working as a school teacher for ten years, then as a curator and PR in a gallery, and for the last ten years, she has been a freelance artist. She teaches still and runs workshops with children, especially with children with disabilities: “I also practice art through art therapies. It has been imposed on me spontaneously, because I have been working with children all my life, and psychology has interested me, that is, the person has always been in my focus, although not in my pictures.”
The versatile artist is widely known for the Match Museum in Sremski Karlovci, which she owns. Part of this collection was first presented to the public under the title “Light My Fire” on the eve of the Museum Night at the Pavle Beljanski Memorial Collection in Novi Sad several years ago, and has since attracted a great deal of attention from the media and visitors.
"It's a really beautiful and rare collection that grows every day. I inherited it from my step-mother, the famous actress Jasna Novak, who started collecting matches in her fifties when she lived in Prague. In the 10 years she spent there, she collected nearly 20,000 different specimens from around the world. Now the collection has almost 40 thousand copies from all over the world. This is something that people can really see almost only in Sremski Karlovci, because there is a private museum only in Germany and Sweden, which is unique because it is where the matches came from.
Sremski Karlovci are considered to be a treasure trove of Serbian culture and spirituality, they are also known for their wine, and several years ago for the matches, ” Jovana says.
The last box of matches, which arrived at the Museum a week ago from Croatia, belongs to the time when the Yugoslav Drava factory from Osijek produced matches for export. The matches were exported to Europe, the Middle East, and Egypt. Thanks to Mr. Branimir, visitors have the opportunity to see this beautiful specimen.
"The wonderful idea that beautiful things are not lost in the vortex of the past," is one comment on the museum's FB page.
"An unexpected, thrilling experience, highly recommended," says the other.
These thumbnails can really light our imagination and take us on different trips in no time.