An exhibition is set up in the gallery of the Mennonite Heritage Center (MHC) and the work reflects how the artist sees himself after immigrating to Canada.
On May 6, the artist Milos Milidrag presented to the public a collection of his works entitled, Who am I? A retrospective.
Before moving to Canada in 1997, Milidrag was a professor of fresco and mosaic at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Pristina (now the Republic of Kosovo).
“The transition wasn’t really easy because I came here without any English. I didn’t know anyone, just me, my wife and my son who learned English in high school and he was an interpreter for us for everything. “, explains Milidrag. .
Not only did his life face a transition, but also his artistic style. Growing up Milidrag focused on French art and after moving to Canada he was surrounded by a different style of art.
Since arriving in Canada, Milidrag has also offered art classes. Pat McCullough, one of his longtime students, praised his talents.
“He’s a brilliant artist and a brilliant teacher. I learned so much from him. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t taken classes with him,” McCullough says.
Integrating faith into art
Milidrag also incorporates religion into his plays, with elements of Christian and Islamic styles.
“I was born in a communist country where religion was forbidden and when I was a child I couldn’t go to church. But I always loved going to my grandparents’ house and every evening before supper, my grandfather was praying,” says Milidrag.
Milidrag practices Orthodox Christianity and remembers when he was younger looking at an icon of St. George, the protector of his family, and was captivated by the design of the icon which sparked his interest in the art.
“I found faith in art, actually, and I like to say my church is my studio, my art is my prayer.”
In a painting dedicated to his mother, Milidrag said he incorporated very specific elements to reflect how he viewed his mother. With a well-dressed figure, a fish to represent her Christian beliefs, and dark flowers to show that she has passed away.
“Art is close to the Creator, that’s what I believe, because the Creator made everything. We are artists and we try to create, to add something to this form, not to copy.”
The art exhibit is on view through June 18 at the MHC Gallery at Canadian Mennonite University.