It’s a highly serendipitous combination.
The opening gala of the second annual International Artist Day Festival at the White Rock Community Centre on Friday, Oct. 24, will feature the launch – and a sneak preview – of Tourism White Rock’s sixth annual Art Calendar, a tribute to an “iconic” White Rock artist.
Vojislav (Voja) Morosan died in 2008 but his work – and his keen eye for the White Rock scene in every season of the year – lives on in more than 200 plein air oil paintings he made in over a decade in the city.
Now Tourism White Rock’s 2015 calendar, dedicated in “loving memory” of Morosan will bring his art, which so accurately captured the colours and moods of the city, to a whole new audience.
Tourism White Rock executive director Betina Albornoz said that, helping mark the launch of the calendar, Norma Morosan, wife of the artist for 26 years will be a special guest at the gala and will sign calendars alongside a display of several of Morosan’s originals.
Born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, the French-trained Morosan had been a Canadian resident since 1968. The Morosans moved to White Rock in 1996 and the painter quickly became part of the city landscape.
“Over the years, he became undoubtedly an iconic figure in our community,” Albornoz said.
“He was often seen in front of an easel, wearing a white straw hat, with his faithful Yorkshire terrier Pebbles by his side.
“From the time I first saw his collection, I thought this would be a very special calendar,” she added.
“I was so impressed with the quality of representation of so many corners of our city in ways I’d never seen before. There is accuracy and detail, but you also see life in every painting. It’s not just the architecture and the landmarks – you see the presence of people in all of the paintings.”
Albornoz said she was thrilled that Norma Morosan was so receptive to the idea.
“We both thought the calendar would be the perfect channel for all these paintings to come alive again.”
“This would have been the ultimate for Voja, the ultimate recognition,” Norma Morosan said.
“For him, coming to a new country, and then a new province was overwhelming. He wanted to be accepted as an immigrant and also as a new artist, and to be accepted in the arts society in general. It was very important to him.”
A dedicated display of Morosan’s collection will follow after the conclusion of the IAD festival weekend events.
The Morosan Tribute exhibit will open on Oct. 27, from 5 to 7pm at the White Rock Community Centre as part of the City of White Rock’s “Art on Display” program and will continue on until November 15.
Calendars will be available for sale at all these various events and festivities.
“I’m so glad, and so many people are volunteering their time to help me,” Norma Morosan said.
“Because there isn’t a gallery involved with this show, it means I don’t have to deal with commissions. That means that more people have the chance to own a Morosan and that more paintings can stay in White Rock – which is what I want, to have his work seen and appreciated here.”
The IAD gala will run 6 to 10 p.m. this Friday at the centre (15154 Russell Ave.)
This year’s event will feature 17 master artists and their work from around the world in an intimate open air studio concept.
Also featured will be a 12” x 12” Gallery with more than 200 original anonymous artworks for purchase painted by artists from across Canada; live music and world- class entertainment; appetizers and culinary delights catered by Jan’s on the Beach, and a Township 7 Wine Bar.
Other highlights of the IAD Festival will include a concert by classic pop and blues artists The Cooler Kings at Blue Frog Studio on Sat. Oct. 25 as well as weekend-long art talks and exhibits showcasing both local and international artistic talents.
Gala tickets are still available – single tickets are $150 each, or $200 for a couples’ ticket. Each single ticket includes a $100 “Gift Art” Voucher that can be applied to any art purchase during the weekend-long Festival.
Tickets may be ordered by phone at 604-536-8333 or at the office of Semiahmoo Arts, 14601 20 Ave.