Vela Luka Centre for Culture

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The Centre for Culture of Vela Luka < back

The Centre for Culture
The diversity and richnees of the culture inheritance of Vela Luka can be seen in the exceptional museum and gallery that are located in the Center for Culture in the centre of the town. The premises of the Centre are located in the building that was built for school needs in the second half of the 19 th centry, so that building has historical significance. The building is located near the Parish Church of St. Joseph, so they together create a magnificent architectonic/urbanism structure and offer a typical Mediterranean spirit. You enter the museum /gallery premises from the inner court of the atrium of the Centre for Culture, and atrium is decorated with mosaics made in 1968 when the International Artist Meeting of painters was held in Vela Luka.

Archeological finds

The following is presented in the musseum and the gallery.
-The Archeological Collection of finds from the historical locality of the Big Cave and antique funds (ceramic dishes, animal and human bones, antique amphora)
-The International Art Collection of drawings, graphic arts, and smaller statues from native artists (Murtic, Picelj, Ujevic) and foreign artists (Soto, Hayer, Messagier),
-Two sculpture of Henry Moore,
-A Collection of ship models by Nedo Gugic,
-The Ethnographic Collection of objects from El Shatt,
-Folk costumes from Vela Luka.


Cultural events in Vela Luka are being held in the atrium of the citadel:
-smaller concerts, concerts of folk music singers, book promotions, exhibitions of native and foreign artists.

The museum and gallery premises and whole ambience where these interesting archeological and artistic collections are located are certainly worth your visit.


The Mozaics The Centre for Culture The Mozaics
The events, which left a deep and lasting imprint in the cultural and artistic life of Vela Luka in the second half of the 20th century, were without any doubt, the International Artists Meetings initiated in 1968. After the successful termination of the First International Meeting, this small town received in permanent ownership nearly seventy mosaics-tablets, a number of which was arranged and built into a memorial mosaic-wall in the centre of Vela Luka, some given to local companies and public institutions and the remaining later fitted in to semicircular openings and the floor of the atrium of the Cultural Centre, thus creating both an exhibition space and the decor of the building which once housed the local school.
The idea of organizing the International Artists Meetings in Vela Luka was born in 1967 and carried through in the organization of the Community Education Centre and with the financial support of business organizations from Vela Luka. The project envisaged the joint creation of mosaics and it brought together a large number of domestic and foreign artists. Their names are inscribed in the mosaics located in the centre of Vela Luka.
The Second International Artists Meeting was held in 1970 with the main objective of elaborating a tourists resort project in the Plitvine cove with the participation of renowned artists and architects.
The Third Meeting was held in 1972 and focused on examing the operation between professional artists and amateur-artists in the fields of fine arts, music and drama arts on the one hand mass-media on the other. The meetings not only enriched the urban environment of Vela Luka, giving the local setting a new perception and generating an enhanced sensitivity for artistic creativity but also enabled the permanent displaying of large number of mosaics, paintings, drawings and sketches in the town. In addition, they attracted the attention of the media which covered the events both domestically and internationally. Owing to the International Artists Meetings, Vela Luka gained international acclaim. In the summer of 1978, a sweeping tsunami severely bamaged the town prompting the sculptor Ante Marinovic, a native of Vela Luka, to take action geared at helping his hometown. He initiated the idea of donating a collection of drawings, graphics and small sculptures to the town. His idea was met with exceptional response on the part of numerous of artists who knew of Vela Luka thanks to the international meetings of artists. It was then that Petar Omcikus and Kosa Boksan, the initiators of the International Artists Meetings, collected part of the future International Donors Collection of Drawings, Graphics and Small Sculpture, exhibiting it first in the gallery of the Cultural Centre in Paris in May 1979. The items from the collection, together with other works of art collected both at home and abroad were set up in the gallery of the Cultural Centre in Vela Luka in the summer of 1981. Along with numerous valuable works of art, two small sculptures by Henry Moore dominate the collection. Because of the war in Croatia (1991-1995), the permanent display of the International Collection of Drawings, Graphics and Small Sculptures was taken down in 1992.
The project of staging this collection once again was carried out in July 2002 with the financial support of the Vela Luka local authorities. The collection comprises of a large number of works by renown domestic (Murtic, Picelj, Krsinic, Ujevic...) and foreign (Soto, Haynter, Lindstrom, Messagier...) Artists. Since due to limited exhibition space the complete International Collection cannot be shown at once, the display will undergo occasional changes.
Nedjeljko Gugic-Kotarac
Nedjeljko Gugic-Kotarac, a self-taught artist-wood-carver, worked upon his own old drafts, books, illustrations of models of historical ships (from Greek vessels and naves liburnae, to vessels of Dubrovnik, and to big vessels) and he was the owner, as some journalists wrote, of the biggest "Fleet on the Adriatic". "Barba Nedo" (uncle Nedo), as the people of Vela Luka called him kindly, worked for some time, between the two World Wars, at the "Adriatic Guard" in Split, making models of historical vessels. His work was appreciated among experts, so that some of his samples of models of his vessels can be found in the maritime museums of Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik. He regularly participated at the "Fair of Fishery and Shipping in Zadar" with his "Fleet" during the sixties. The community government in Vela Luka at the time bought the vessel models with the intention to exhibit them in the future museum sample for display. After the display of the museum collection in Vela Luka, Barba Nedo worked there and he was its first keeper. He made small vessel models as souvenirs for the tourist offer, as well.
The vessel models of Barba Nedo Gugic are the part of the heritage of Vela Luka and their renewed display is a contribution to the promotion of our cultural wealth and the perseverance of our identity. Barba Nedo searched for the motives for his vessels among different sources, and he was equally inspired by domestic paragons as well as samples from exotic countries. Some details of the vessels are profilic of the imagination of the author, and some samples are not realistic, but in whole, the vessels of Barba Nedo can not help but to fascinate with its beautiful oars and sails and small wolf heads, birds etc., as the people of Vela Luka would say.
The fascination is in the time spent to make every particular vessel, the patience and the feeling for details. The author did, with his way of work, inspire every of his vessel models with indentity and exemption.
The fleet of Barba Nedo "sailed" from the oblivion after many years and "entered" into the regular museum display of the Centre for Culture.
The Mozaics The Centre for Culture The Mozaics
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