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Artist brings international flair to Hankins Gallery

By LAMONT E. CLEGG

Check out the paintings by Svetlana Radovic on display at Hankins Gallery.

Montenegro, Cairo, East Lansing. This is not the path most artists take whose work is featured at Hankins Gallery, but then, Svetlana Radovic is not most artists.
Born in Montenegro (a constituent republic of the former Yugoslavia), Radovic says she has always had a passion for art and that she would draw on anything available to her. However, that passion became primarily a hobby as she pursued other educational objectives. If fact, she received a law degree in Montenegro and practiced law there until 1990. But a move with her husband and children to Cairo, Egypt, was to be the impetus for her art to take center stage. Unable to practice law in a foreign country, Radovic decided to dive fulltime into art. Her work gained the attention of influential members of the Egyptian art community, and soon she was on her way. She had her first solo exhibition in 1993 at the Spanish Cultural Center in Cairo and another solo show in the city at the Orient Express Gallery in 1997. Moving back to Montenegro in 1998, Radovic had a solo show at the Center of Modern Arts of Montenegro in 2000.
Coming to the United States eight months ago to join her children, Radovic is now beginning to develop a following here. That following has noticed the emotion that packs her canvases.
Radovic said that her “first opus” of work is reflective of her feelings and experiences of being a citizen of Yugoslavia during the country’s civil war … and of more personal feelings and experiences.
“The painting of my first opus was about separation,” explained Radovic. “It was the separation of families and other things and of the war going on in Yugoslavia.” Yet, she said she believes she was able to capture a universal essence in her expression of separation. “If people see my paintings, they can find themselves in them,” she noted.
She says now she has entered a new phase and is painting a new opus. In contrast to her previous work exploring separation, she is beginning to explore togetherness and familial relationships.
Another new element found in the body of work she is creating is a bit of text incorporated in the painting. The text is in the form of the prayers she now uses to begin each painting session. “I always pray before I start to paint,” Radovic explained. “God gave me blessings to start my work and to finish my work. My faith is strong and maybe the people who see my work can sense that faith.”
Radovic also said she hopes her work elicits emotions from those who see them. “I like people to be excited when they see my paintings,” she said.
Bill Hankins, owner of Hankins Gallery, said being moved by Radovic’s work is not difficult. “You can see the emotion in her paintings, but it’s not angry – it’s acceptance and love.”
That really comes as no surprise to people who meet Radovic. She uses her painting to express her emotions. Rather than take her anger, fear, or other emotions out on other people, Radovic uses her canvas. “I put everything in the painting,” she concluded.



 

 

 

 

 

 

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