The Yugoslav village of Kovacica, not far from the capital Belgrade, is one of two villages in the country which is becoming famous for the paintings executed by the people living there.
Village; artists; exhibition.
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Background: The Yugoslav village of Kovacica, not far from the capital Belgrade, is one of two villages in the country which is becoming famous for the paintings executed by the people living there. In the village, a school of painters is being established by farm workers, who are now exhibiting their works in a gallery in Kovacica.
The artistic expression of these people is rooted deeply in tradition, and the range of colours they use is reminiscent of the vivid rhythms of Slovak folklore.
Part of the touching appeal of their works is the apparent stiffness and even clumsiness with which the artists depict the world around them. In the exhibitions held by these part-time painters, works are exhibited which are sold for anything up to 60,000 dinars (more than GBP1700 sterling) to other Yugoslavs and foreign visitors.
The founder of the school in Kovacica was Martin Paluska. He was born in 1913, and in 1938 started to paint in oils. His first work was a painting of the birthplace of his parents.
Martin Janos is 43, and was born in Kovacica. He is a farmer and paints during his spare moments, and during the winter. Since 1952 his work has gained world-wide recognition, and in addition to displaying his work in more than 80 exhibitions in Yugoslavia, his painting have also been shown in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Janos is considered to be one of the best artists of his kind in Yugoslavia.
Jane Knjazovic, who is also a native of Kovacica, started in life by painting political slogans and posters. At the end of the Second World War he returned to his home village and joined the other artists there.
Zuzana Halupova, a farmer's wife, is 34, and she also has had many of her works exhibited at international exhibitions.
The money these artists make by selling their works goes back into buying more materials for all the painters in the village. Unless their works are sold to foreign buyers, they are not taxed on the money.