Fearless Croatian Women – Part 2

One Hundred Fearless Women Who Changed Croatia – Part 2

After the success of Fearless Croatian Women Part 1, the sequel was announced at the end of 2019. I was excited to be chosen again to draw my own interpretation of the new selection of Croatian women. While the previous book was women from Croatia’s history, this one featured women from modern day Croatia. I had huge plans, all of us artists did. We hoped for a grand exhibition to be held with artwork for all 100 women, from both books.

Of course, nobody knew what was waiting for us just around the corner. 2020 began with lots of optimism and inspiration. A new selection of great female illustrators. We were all eagerly awaiting the new list. It was sent out by email and somehow I had missed it! By the time the publisher had contacted me, asking for my selection, there were only a few women left to choose from.

I ended up with Madam President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, Savka Dabčević-Kučar and Dr. Alemka Markotić.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, 2018 World Cup

I was thrilled to get the first female President of Croatia, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. I, like many, remember her as an enthusiastic supporter of the Croatian national football team from the 2018 World Cup. She made headlines with warm and down to earth cheering to the sport, especially in the big finale game against France. I wanted to make her beautiful and stately but somehow translate her warm and earthiness into the illustration. That was my most difficult challenge in illustration so far. It is not easy and I did not want to play her down. She will be an important historical figure as the first female president in the history of Croatia.

It took me two tries until she turned right. I hope she was satisfied with my interpretation of her role.

Savka Dabčević-Kučar

Savka Dabčević-Kučar, Croatian Spring in Zagreb, 1971

Then it was Savka Dabčević-Kučar, the famous Croatian female communist politician from former Yugoslavia. She was politically suppressed during Croatian Spring, a political movement in the 1970s for more freedom in Yugoslav Croatia. She resigned and was removed from public life, like many prominent politicians during that period. She was the symbol for the Croatian people of their struggle for an independent state. When Croatia finally gained independence in the 1990s, she returned to political life and became active in once again shaping Croatian history. I felt great responsibility drawing her and her tragic destiny. Unlike many who suffered under communism at the time, she was lucky to stay alive through it all and see an independent Croatia. She passed away in 2009 at the age of 86.

Savka Dabčević-Kučar (1923 – 2009)

Doctor Alemka Markotić

Doctor Alemka Markotić

The third fearless woman is Doctor Alemka Markotić. She is the director of the Research Department at the Laboratory for Clinical Immunology at the University Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb. An accomplished scientist, scholar, and professor, she was on the forefront of the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak in Croatia. Throughout it all, she was an example of a scientific mind making sense and trying to understand the realities of what was going on. With her illustration, I felt the most freedom to interpret her role as a scientist primarily.

New Beginnings

I drew all three of these fearless women while traveling to France, to inscribe into what turned out to be my French semester. My little shop in Zagreb’s Upper Town closed with no tourists coming because of Covid-19. I was looking towards new, uncertain horizons when an unexpected came. Life sometimes has its own way of putting us in the place we need to be. 

I am presently in my studio in La Rochelle, France, painting my new projects and learning the French language. It is never late to try new things in life.

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