CAPSULE STORIES #5 - Nada Kozić
“The realization of this project should help evaluation of St. Martin heritage on European scale, which will promote its values for cultural and tourist purposes, in secular and in sacral senses. I personally had broad support for the subject I was dealing with and described in the aforementioned edition.”
An interview with Nada Kozić, head of the Centre for Culture at POU (People’s Open University) Dugo Selo, the author of the book "Martinska baština u Dugom Selu" (St. Martin’s Heritage in Dugo Selo) and head of the fine artists’ colonies dedicated to St. Martin
How are you involved in the NPA project?
Fifteen years ago while working for the then Croatian Society of St. Martin, today's Cultural Centre St. Martin, Croatia I started collaborating with the Cultural Centre St. Martin from Tours, France. As early as 2007, the first “St. Martin’s footprint” was put up at the old church on Martin Breg, Dugo Selo, the first one in Croatia. It was accompanied by a multilingual interpretation table put up in front of the church. This is the way of marking monuments dedicated to St. Martin all over Europe. It is also a signpost of historical-cultural as well as pilgrimage paths of St. Martin.
By recording all activities related to St. Martin heritage, compiling photographs and other documentation, bringing together all available sources on this subject, I have written and published a unified overview of St. Martin heritage in the region of Dugo Selo. In dealing with this topic I initiated and participated in numerous events, reviving tradition and finding out new values of St. Martin heritage. Based on the research I have described all the material and non-material heritage of this area that was created on the basis of the saint’s patronage.
How long did the research last, what did it comprise?
The participation in the revival of St. Martin heritage and the research have been two unified processes since the late nineties during which period I was dealing with these topics as part of my job. The main part of the book Martinska baština u Dugom Selu/St.Martin heritage in Dugo Selocontains everything that was created in Dugo Selo region inspired by the patronage of St. Martin. During these twenty years I have been following all events, describing, recording, taking photos and publishing the results in the newspapers. In just a few months, I assembled the materials into the thematic whole that forms the backbone of the book. The general data about early St. Martin heritage (churches, customs, rituals, songs) were transferred from other sources.
There were additional activities connected with Croatian and European institutions and associations that cherished the legacy of St. Martin and implemented thematic projects. There are also "new values" inspired by this theme: works of art, songs, dances, choreographies, souvenirs, anything that "speaks" about St. Martin as a cultural and historical component of our identity.
These are buildings (churches), iconography, legends, customs, traditional rituals and festivals, works of art, printed matter and everything else that bears significance for life and deeds of our patron saint. The texts and documentation I've found are enriched with a wealth of photographs that record customs and events.
For a number of years, you have been organizing artists’ colonies. One of the themes has often been the person and deeds of St. Martin. How many exhibitions have been held on this topic?
This year will be the 20th colony, that is, the encounter of fine artists from the Dugo Selo region, the Zagreb County, as well as from other Croatian regions. So far the artists have created more than two hundred works of art, which confirms the inexhaustible inspiration coming from life and deeds of St. Martin. The works of art are stored in POU (People’s Open University).
More than two-thirds of the paintings and sculptures bear the thematic mark of St. Martin heritage. Realistic works depict churches, sculptures, the person and deeds of the patron saint. The mark is often visible in iconographic elements, elements of tradition, customs and various symbols. The motifs of the Dugo Selo landscape, even contemporary, urban themes, contain the same distinctive marks. This collection is one of the numerous exhibits depicting St. Martin heritage in various techniques and styles of artistic creation, even in abstract works.
Several dozen exhibitions have been set up containing St. Martin motifs. Most of them took place in Dugo Selo where annual collections are usually exhibited, as well as exhibitions of selected collections for various occasions. Pictures and sculptures showing St. Martin were also exhibited at several venues in Zagreb, Ivanić Grad, Split, Biograd. Over two decades above thirty authors have been involved in these activities, some of them have created up to fifteen works.
What is your opinion about the NPA project, how did it affect you?
The realization of this project should help evaluation of St. Martin heritage on European scale, which will promote its values for cultural and tourist purposes, in secular and in sacral senses. I personally had broad support for the subject I was dealing with and described in the aforementioned edition. This is a project that evaluates and promotes St. Martin heritage as a whole.