A Croatian mural in Omaha & a literary residency in Istria

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Depicting Croatia’s cultural heritage in the heart of America

The largest city in the state of Nebraska, Omaha was recently enriched with a mural depicting the Croatian heritage. Officially unveiled on Croatian Statehood Day, the Croatian community gathered for mass, and then singing and dancing to mark the 26th anniversary of Croatia’s independence, as well as a work of art that celebrates its nation’s culture and heritage in the heart of the United States.

The Croatian map and flag, Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac, a procession, a tamburica ensemble and young girls in traditional folk attire are just some of the motifs that decorate the largest mural of Croatian immigrant memories, history and lifestyle in this American city.

The Croatian Mural Project was officially unveiled on Sunday, 25 June 2017. Celebrating the Croatian community in Omaha, it is the fifth official public mural that highlights a specific ethnic community. Previous murals honor the Polish, Lithuanian and Mexican immigrants who shaped the area and its society over the past century, as well as the “Magic City” that celebrates South Omaha in general. All of these artworks are part of the South Omaha Mural Project, which is aimed at depicting the history and cultural values of the city’s ethnic communities.

One of the project’s creators, artist Richard Harrison, says that the murals are a medium through which people reflect and look ahead. With the help of the South Omaha community, Harrison, together with Rebecca Harrison, Maggie Heusinkvelt, and Quin Slovek, worked on researching, planning and preparing for several months, while the actual painting took almost a month. It stands tall at Bere’s Hall,where many gatherings are held by South Omaha communities.

Zvonoinari (Ognjen Radjen and Natalija Gligorinic) photo by Sandra Kalogjera

A literary retreat from the bottom of Istria’s heart

About six years ago writers and life partners Natalija Gligorinic and Ognjen Radjen set up a literary residency in Natalija’s home village of Ližnjan. Over the course of the retreat’s existence, some 120 artists, translators and people involved in the art of books have been spending time in Ližnjan, and some liked it so much there that they had returned several times to bond with fellow artists and work on their projects. The ZVONAINARI literary retreat has been bringing artists from across the globe to the Istrian peninsula giving them a helping hand in working on their projects. According to the couple, there are many more plans for the literary residency in Ližnjan and all of those who think they can benefit from it are cordially invited to contact them.

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