This year, 2020, was supposed to be Rijeka’s year; Croatia hosting the European city of culture. Sadly, with the Corona virus crisis, this opportunity could not fully be seized. Instead, the Croatian Language School [CLS] will be visiting Rijeka in 2021 for its Language and Culture course, as well as exploring the Kvarner and Gorski kotar regions, to learn more about this fascinating microcosm of Mediterranean, central and eastern European culture. In the spirit of celebrating some of Rijeka’s more unique and unexplored areas of culture, in this article, we join Leo Blokar and Sarah Smucker, who’ve lived in the region for the last decade, in a tour of the life and works of one of Rijeka’s treasures, the painter Mauro Stipanov.
Along with a brief overview of Rijeka and its turbulent 20th century history, you’ll read about the life and struggle of an artist to find his voice in this provincial but multi-cultural port city. From his first discovery of the scents and texture of oil paint, to his study in Venice, and his subsequent return to his home city, Mauro’s love of the act of painting has never changed, and remains the essence of his love of creating art. You’ll read about his artistic experimentation with abstract to form, and back again, as well as the challenges of becoming an artist in an area where materials were scarce. Coming from a family of three generations of painters, he carries on a tradition while, at the same time, developing his own very original artistic voice.
Next year, the CLS Culture and Language Course will be visiting Mauro’s studio and participants will be able to experience his work in person. We hope you enjoy this lyrical journey through Rijeka and its surroundings, through words and pictures, through Mauro’s “Jungle of Life”, and, if you so choose, please join us next year to discover more.
You can read the full article here: Mauro Stipanov & Rijeka.pdf
Many thanks to Sarah, Leo and Mauro for all their time, hard, work, care and creativity in bringing Rijeka to life, and a little closer to us. Thanks also to Egon Hreljanović for sharing his wonderful photography with us for this article.