Culture shorts

Young artist with Down syndrome exhibits works

The Yellow Flower by Barborka Algayerová.
photo: Akcent Gallery

BARBORKA Algayerová, a talented 10-year old girl with Down syndrome, is exhibiting her paintings in the Akcent Gallery in Nitra. The aim is to reduce the isolation of disabled children in society.

Barborka has won prizes in a number of national competitions, in which the other participants were healthy, proving she's a talented girl. This has earned her the opportunity to exhibit her work abroad, but due to health and financial problems, those plans have yet to materialize. The exhibition's official opening was attended by children from special schools for the disabled in Nitra.

"We want to point out that disabled people can be as lively and gifted as others," exhibition organizer Radovan Baláž said. Barborka's pretty, colourful and positive paintings hide a strong story that Baláž believes has a powerful impact.

The proceeds from the sale of the pictures at the exhibition, which is entitled Colourful Dreaming, will go to Barborka and her mother, who is also disabled. It will be used to perform a special hair analysis important for adjusting Barborka's drug treatment and to help her further develop her talent. Barborka has been painting since she was four years old. Her paintings are fresh, playful, colourful, and carefully detailed depictions of flowers, trees, cats, and the sun, among other topics.

The exhibition in Nitra lasts until June 30.

Cancelled exhibitions protest gallery director's dismissal

VISUAL ARTIST and university teacher Ladislav Čarný; film dir ector, photographer and university teacher Dušan Hanák; and visual artist Otis Laubert have cancelled their exhibitions in the Stredoslovenská Galéria (Central-Slovak Gallery) in Banská Bystrica to protest the dismissal of the gallery's director, Alena Vrbanová. The artists contend that Vrbanová led the gallery successfully and credit her with increasing its profile, the TASR news wire reported.

The artists also wish to draw attention to the flawed commission that has been put together to select a new director. None of the commission's members is an expert in the visual arts or in running a gallery. And the artists believe the favoured candidate, Štefan Kocka, is being chosen for his specialization and professional orientation, not his ability to further the gallery's high standard.

"Even though the artists have cancelled their exhibitions, the gallery will not close," Zlatica Hlavačíková, the gallery's interim director, told TASR. From June 21, when it should have hosted an exhibition of Hanák's photos, the gallery will show works from the House of Photography in Liptovský Mikuláš. Instead of works by Otis Laubert, the gallery will exhibit items from its collections. The gallery will also find a proper alternative for works of Ladislav Čarný, whose exhibition was planed for late September.

The regional government, Banskobystrický Samosprávny Kraj, as the operator of the galley, denies the commission lacks experts.

Seven candidates ran for the post of galley director. Two were rejected because they did not meet the terms of the selection proceeding.

The regional government deputies who dismissed former director Alena Vrbanová in early February will decide on who will take over the post.

The Stredoslovenská Galéria has specialized in graphic arts in Slovakia and abroad for over 30 years. It marked its 50th anniversary last year with an exhibition of pieces from its collection of 9,000 graphic works.

At the start of 2007, the gallery changed owner and administrator, when it was moved from the Culture Ministry to the regional government. Its deputies claim they dismissed Vrbanová only because of the transformation the institution was undergoing. They also planned to launch a Museum of Folk Dance in Banská Bystrica, with one possible location being the Stredoslovenská Galéria. Vrbanová had opposed the idea.

Warhol pictures sells for Sk595,000

MORE THAN 30 works of art were sold at a benefit auction organized by the Lions Club in Košice on May 30. Andy Warhol's Sitting Bull fetched the biggest sum, selling for Sk595,000. Works by Picasso, Koloman Sokol, Vladimír Popovič, and Ľudovít Čordák drew 45 art lovers into the Východoslovenské Múzeum, where the auction was held.

A lithography of bouquets by Picasso started at Sk70,000 and finished Sk12,000 higher. A work by Ladislav Mednyánský was sold for Sk140,000, up from the starting price of Sk78,000.

For the first time, Slovak musician Pavol Hammel put one of his paintings up for auction. His oil painting of fish fetched Sk37,000.

The Lions Club will donate a portion of the proceeds to aid visually disabled people.

"This was a very successful event," organizer Branislav Koniar told the ČTK news agency after the auction. "Last year, we donated Sk84,000. It will be much more this year." The Club will donate a portion of Sk330,000, which is the difference between the items' starting and final prices.

Some money will go to the Buriks family and to the Maják non-profit organization. The Buriks are visually disabled parents raising a healthy two-year-old boy. They have said they will use the money to transport their son to kindergarten. Maják, which means "light house" in Slovak, is the only facility for the deaf and blind in Slovakia.

Slovak artists successful in Italy

MOST of the Slovak artists who participated in the Premio Cittá di Porto Sant' Elpidio International Visual Arts Festival are coming home with awards. Ľubica Malovecká's painting received the festival's top prize, the Delfino Award. Eugénia Lehocká was given the prestigious First Critics Award and Pavol Blažek won the Jury Award. Other Slovaks received prizes and praise from various companies and banks. The unplanned re-installation of the Slovak collection in the gallery of the historical town of Montecosaro confirms its success.

Eva Semelbauerová from the Artem Gallery told The Slovak Spectator that almost 50 visual artists from European countries attended the festival, of which 10 were Slovak.

Upon receiving a prize, the artist usually donates the awarded work to the gallery for permanent presentation. Thus, the participation of Slovak artists in the festival was an opportunity to better familiarize foreigners with Slovak visual arts.

Prepared By Jana Liptáková

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