Interview With Covid-19 Survivor Marko Franovic

 

Marko Franovic, July 2020
Photo: BokaCroPress

Interview conducted by Ina Vukic

Croatian born Marko Franovic, a most successful businessman and a generous benefactor and philanthropist particularly for causes directly relating to the achievement of Croatia’s independence and promotion of its truths. Living in Australia (Sydney) for decades he has never abandoned the good fight for Croatia and indeed, with his intense passion served as one of its freedom wheels.  Fleeing communist Yugoslavia in 1960, after some months in refugee camps in Northern Italy he ended up in Australia’s Bonegilla Migrant Centre and then in Sydney and was later joined by his two brothers (Bozo and Ivo), who also fled communist Yugoslavia. Approaching his 80th birthday (which will be celebrated in 2021) he contracted COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and survived. The path to his full recovery was harsh, demanding and still continues but, seeing him four months after the infection one is in awe and filled with tender hope amidst the darkness seen around COVID-19 on a daily basis. Today we read of more than 17.4 million cases and more than 670,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

COVID-19 cases July 2020
Photo: Screenshot John Hopkins University, Coronavirus Resource Center

So what is it really like to have been infected with COVID-19 Coronavirus and come out the other side recovered and pursuing life to as fullest as possible? Here is what Mr Franovic had to say in my interview with him.

In March of this year you were infected with COVID-19 Coronavirus. Can you tell us what happened?

I was invited to a dinner in Sydney with about 100 people from all over Australia and the possibility exists that I was infected with the virus there; the place was crowded. Before that day I hadn’t been anywhere where there were large crowds or lots of people in one place for an assembly of sorts.

When did you first feel that you may be ill from COVID-19? That is, what did you feel, what symptoms?

A couple of days after that dinner I began to feel some kind of weakness, I simply did not have control over myself, I wasn’t capable of driving a car. I went to the hospital for COVID-19 testing.

Did you feel like fighting the virus before you ended up in hospital? Did you try and resist the symptoms of the illness?

To tell you the truth, I did not believe at the time in such symptoms of the virus. I was sceptical about a virus causing so many consequences. I did not want to believe that I was infected. Given that the medical findings upon X-ray screenings of my heart were all good I went home from the hospital, thinking everything was fine with me.

After how long and with what symptoms did you end up in hospital, again?

After I arrived home my condition began deteriorating. General weakness, I could not getu up from the bed, my breathing was laboured and difficult and I felt a constant pressure against my lungs and, hence, ended up in hospital again.

What happened in hospital, how did it all go and what was undertaken to get you back to health?

On the fifth day my health condition began deteriorating rapidly. When I was started on 9l of Oxygen they transferred me into the intensive care unit. After that they put me onto a respirator and I was in an induced coma for 25 days and on dialysis for 30 days. My kidneys were failing, pneumonia developed, my liver was infected, my gall bladder presented with problems (I will need surgery), I suffer from diabetes, and with all that I contracted blood infection – sepsis.

It must have been very difficult to discover how much your illness was life-threatening. How did you carry yourself with such a realisation? What was the most difficult part of your healing?

As I was in an induced coma, I was not aware of anything, which perhaps is a good thing. When I woke up from the coma I initially did not know where I was, I don’t remember anything. The first thing I asked was whether one of my company’s jobs had been completed. Lying in bed on my back for two months I could not turn to the side (I usually sleep on the side), it was very difficult for me. I lost 11 kilograms of my body weight while I was in hospital.

What was the most important thing for you during your treatment?

Given that I was not conscious during the time of my „sleep“ whatever they did was fruitful, brought about good results.

How would you comment on the health services that were provided to you?

I was treated in Sutherland Hospital. I have no words that would adequately describe the care that I experienced there. Words fail me when I try to describe the care I recevided from medical staff there. In caring for the sick these people risk their own lives and the lives of their families every day. I think the public doesn’t respect them enough. I can say that I am alive now because of their efforts.

I was treated with the experimental drug Hydroxychloroquine and an another medication in the combination. Did this help me? I do not know. When I woke up I was told that I must have a strong wish for life because, they said, I fought and that it was much due to that will for life that I survived. The doctors consider my recovery a miracle.

I believe you had heard while in hospital, while you were so weak due to COVID-19 infection that thousands of people across the world were praying for your recovery. How did those prayers affect you, how much did they mean to you?

Being in a coma I was not aware that people were praying for me. There are no words with which I can express my gratitude for the prayers for my recovery. I was amazed, words failed me when I was told of this. Sometimes I feel as if I’m still confused because I feel as if I need to make up for the lost time through the long „sleep“. So much has changed from March of this year, the whole world is different. I don’t know whether you can place yourself in a situation where you wake up and you realise that a whole month has passed by through which unbelievable events had occurred throughout the world.  It’s like falling from planet Mars, and now I constantly look at what had occurred and try to stay up to date with things.

What did you feel when the hospital doctors told you you could go home?

What do you think I felt? I could not walk properly, I was emotionally shaken by everything that had happened. I have a family, I worried about them, I worried about work, I did not not know how long my full recovery will last after the hospitalisation.

How is you full recovery coming along?

It’s unbelievable that my lungs have recovered so well and that my kidneys no longer pose a problem. I still have problems with walking but with ongoing exercising it’s getting better by the day. A week after I came out of hospital I went to work. I now work full time, my brain functions well and full recovery will take a bit longer. As I’m in advanced years of my life some things will take a bit longer to recover, but it’s getting better. I see progress every day.

When you now look at the dangerous state your health was in due to Coronavirus and when you look at the path of your recovery do you think that you have been given a second chance at life?

I am grateful for having been given a second chance. Many younger people have not been as fortunate. Many families are wrapped up in mourning black. I respect life more now.

Marko Franovic in his office July 2020
Photo: BokaCroPress

Are you planning on staying active with work? Has anything changed with that due to Coronavirus infection and its consequences for you?

Well, as I said above I am back at work full swing. Walking gets slower and more tiresome but I’m building up my energy; I tend to my other medical issues with the intent of staying as strong as possible. I was never the one to give up on working, or contributing with work in my companies’ success.  As long as my health and my fighting spirit allow me – I will work.

Do you have any message to pass on regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus?

Yes I have. As it has been told us, we should adhere to the instructions given to us about COVID-19. Hand washing, social distancing, wearing a mask; all that has its own reasons and it is up to us to comply with what is asked of us. Hundreds of thousands of people have died, millions have been infected. I don’t even want to talk about the economic crisis that has emerged but I do want to say that we are all in it and that we need to help each other to stay healthy, to look after our elderly, not to be arrogant and think that the virus will not touch us. You never know when and how it can strike at us. From my personal experience I can say to your readers: look after yourselves and, once again, thank you for all the prayers for my recovery, which evidently have been answered and granted.

Not Only Croatia Suffers From Serbian Deception

Serb Chetniks in Australia – continue deceiving with pretence Serbia was with Allied forces in WWII
Photo: Facebook

The persistent coverup of Serbia’s horrid and active role in the WWII Holocaust and the fact that in May 1942 Serbia was one of the first European countries to declare itself Jew-free (Judenfrei) had prostituted factual history to the point of yet another criminal blow to the many victims of the Holocaust in Serbia. The coverup was hatched by Yugoslav communists with headquarters in Belgrade towards the end of WWII and viciously pursued with the single aim of vilifying Croatia and Croatian people, lumbering against them distressing lies and recklessly tossing out wildly fabricated numbers of those killed in the Holocaust. There’s no doubt that some “leading” people of Jewish ancestry, such as Efraim Zuroff of Simon Weisenthal Center and Gideon Greif, an Israeli historian, have been going out of their way to coverup Serbia’s and its Chetniks’ role in the Holocaust in Serbia. One can only wonder why this is so and why these men pursue the path of this same filthy work of coverup, but one cannot avoid the thought that rewards from official Serbia for them must be large! The sickening thing is that Serbia has raised a monument to the victims of the Holocaust there, but, guess what, Germans and not Serbs are the culprits of that WWII depravity! The fact that official Serbia was a willing partner in these crimes is totally ignored and underplayed in this wicked propaganda program.

While those that seek to research facts of WWII history in Croatia and Serbia are persistently and with apparent malice labelled as revisionists, the same people who pursue with the Serbian coverup of the role of Serbs in the Holocaust on its own soil continue to work tirelessly, it seems, in attempting to discredit and stop such research! Truth has always had a difficult path to the surface, and that is a sad fact of humanity.

For the sake of justice to all the victims of crime and for the sake of demonstration how Serbs have succeeded in fooling and deceiving the world, I shall continue this post with a transfer of David Goldman’s recent article in the Independent Australia portal on the Serbian collaboration with the Nazi’s (the collaboration Serbia and its “friends” are persistently trying to coverup with the aim of vilifying WWII Croatia). David Goldman’s article from January 2020 is this:

 

Betrayal: RSL backs Nazi-aligned Serbian Chetniks

Australia’s Returned and Services League (RSL) is allowing a Nazi-aligned group from WWII and their supporters to march in Anzac Day parades.

Meanwhile, the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) Department pays their entitlements out of the public purse at a time when Australian soldiers suffering physical injuries and issues like PTSD find their health benefits being slashed.

The Nazis in question are a WWII Serbian military formation called ‘Chetniks’, that according to most widely-available histories, including all the various official histories of WWII, were listed at worst as being active Axis collaborators or at the least, a nationalist-chauvinist militia responsible for numerous bestial war crimes.

According to Winston Churchill’s liaison officer in wartime Yugoslavia, Major-General Sir Fitzroy Maclean:

The reason why we have ceased to supply Draza Mihajlovic [Supreme Chetnik commander] with weapons and support, is a simple one: He has not been fighting the enemy and moreover some of his subordinates have been making accommodations with the enemy.

Maclean further wrote in his book Eastern Approaches:

‘Some Chetnik Commanders were openly living at German and Italian headquarters. The Chetniks were either not fighting at all or fighting with the Germans against their own countrymen … [the Chetnik’s were] impeding rather than furthering the allied war effort.’

Because of his collaboration and other war crimes, Draza Mihajlovic was executed by Yugoslavia in March 1946.  In fact, Chetnik collaboration became so widespread that after the Tehran Conference of 1943, the Allies finally broke off all ties with the Chetniks, eventually even forcing their own political head, King Peter II Karadordjevic to publicly disown them by September 1944 and throw his lot in with Tito’s Communist Partisans.

The Australian government has been well aware of this for decades. For example, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in a letter to an enquiry to a retired New Zealand veteran way back in May 1993 wrote: ‘Serbia was not an ally’ and that ‘it is true that the Chetniks were collaborators’. Despite this, these units march in our major cities every April 25th.

After a follow-up enquiry by the same retired Kiwi Army Sergeant on whether anyone who served in the Chetniks during WWII was ‘eligible’ to receive Veteran’s Affairs entitlements, the response from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) also from 1993, was crystal clear:

The Chetniks were discredited on 12 September 1944, because of widespread collaboration with the Nazis and Fascists, and because they were fighting on the German and Italian side since 1941.’

Then in a twist that would have made Kafka proud, the same letter went on to say:

‘The DVA has assessed your specific concern under Section 35 of the Veteran’s Entitlements Act 1986. Due to restrictions under the Privacy Act 1988, DVA cannot inform you of the outcome.’

This despite the fact that the VA was only asked if these units ‘were eligible to receive VA entitlements’, and not whether (or not) any living individual was actually receiving them.

Postage stamps in WWII Serbia
Antisemitic – violently!
Photo: Screenshots

During WWII, Chetnik units operating across Bosnia, Croatia and Montenegro found collaboration with Hitler natural as they were already part of Mussolini’s fascist army, the so-called, ‘Anti-Communist Volunteer Militia, a component of the 5th, 6th and 17th Corps of the army of fascist Italy, who according to historians were responsible for the murder of over 50,000 people, mainly innocent civilians.

One of their most revered military leaders, indicted war criminal and Serbian Orthodox priest Momčilo Đujić, who, despite being dead for 20 years, is still the central figurehead under whose symbols many Chetniks in the Anzac Day celebration march and who has from his long-cold grave given inspiration to a new generation of fanatical Nazis, including the likes of alleged NZ mosque shooter Brenton Tarrant and Norwegian mass murderer and neo-Nazi Anders Breivik among others.

Đujić also became the spiritual godfather of convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Vojislav Seselj, whose role in financing Serb war criminals living here was documented by The Australian in 2019.

As both a loyal German as well as an Italian ally, in December 1944, Đujić sent an emissary to General Gustav Fehn of the German 264th Infantry Division with the following message:

The Chetnik Command with all of its armed forces has collaborated sincerely and loyally with the German Army in these areas from September last year. This collaboration has continued to the present day. The Chetnik Command wishes to share the destiny of the German Army in the future.

In response, General Fehn organised the safe transport of Đujić’s wounded Chetniks to the Third Reich, where after the war, he and his followers were employed by the CIA and eventually relocated to the U.S. where Đujić lived out his days.

The Washington PostIsrael’s Yad Vashem and the U.S.-based Shoah Resource Centre admitted that:

By the end of 1943, the break between the West and the Chetniks was complete. The Chetniks became collaborators and joined the forces fighting the Partisans. There were many instances of Chetniks murdering Jews or handing them over to the Germans.

Fast forward to 2019 and some high-ranking Serbian RSL members have gone on to form alliances with neo-Nazi groups such as Golden Dawn, which was implicated in the Srebrenica Massacre, nationalist Russian Cossacks on ASIO watchlists such as Simeon Boikov and various local far-right extremists like Jim Saleam and Kim Vuga.

Moreover, the leader of the Chetnik Anzac Committee for NSW, Milan Brkljac, along with his brother Draz, a serving NSW policeman, march under the banner of Serbia for Anzac Day, in clear breach of RSL protocols and by-laws, as the RSL does not even have a marching schedule for a country called Serbia, rather only one for Yugoslavia.

As mentioned, this situation has led directly to Chetnik units forming triad-like alliances with groups like the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn and pro-Putin Russian Cossacks, all aided and abetted by well-known figures in the Australian extreme Right, and coordinated by modern-day followers of the Italian and German quisling Momčilo Đujić and their fellow Anzac Day marchers.

Others in this clique have posted pictures of themselves on social media holding ‘Remove Kebab’ signs – a clear reference to, and support of the likes of Tarrant and Breivik, while more disturbing is the fact that some of their supporters have trained and fought alongside pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine in breach of Australia’s Foreign Incursions Act 1978.

Of course this circus would be incomplete without the involvement of clueless politicians like NSW Opposition leader Jodie McKay, who allowed herself to be photographed with some of these individuals a few years ago.

Just how the RSL can ignore Nazi collaborators and units from Mussolini’s fascist army tied to local neo-Nazi groups openly marching in Anzac Day parades alongside legitimate veterans, in spite of the overwhelming evidence provided to the heads of the RSL over many years is simply mind-boggling.

Even though their inclusion breaches numerous RSL and Veteran’s Affairs (VA) codes, by-laws and protocols such as provisions of Section 5(c) of the Veterans Entitlements Act which states that an ‘allied veteran’ does not include a person who was ‘at any time’ in a force which was assisting the enemy forces of Australia, the RSL has stayed mute on the subject.

On April 25 2019, in a rare act of common sense, an attempt was made to ban the Chetniks from all Anzac Day activities by the Victorian RSL, however, the branch’s leadership lost its nerve and quickly reversed this decision, allegedly due to legal threats.

Going further, by giving VA entitlements to Chetniks, Australia’s Government is also inadvertently helping fund the war in eastern Ukraine while Australian soldiers suffer constant ATO checks or entitlement cut-backs and Australian Afghan war veterans endure cuts to their medical benefits and VA entitlements.

While the bureaucratic heads of the VA department and the Veteran’s Affairs Minister Darren Chester should resign over this outrage, for its part, the RSL should consider rewording its ‘Lest We Forget’ slogan to ‘Lest We Remember’.

After all, that would be a far more accurate description of their attitude towards both WWII history and the fate of Australia’s servicemen and women.”

Ina Vukic

 

Interview With Charles Billich – A Remarkable Life!

Charles Billich on his 85th birthday
Photo: Ina Vukic

 

Interview by Ina Vukic

On a day that approached his 85th birthday I walked into the Billich Gallery at The Rocks in Sydney to conduct an interview with the Croatian born, world acclaimed and awarded Australian surrealist Charles Billich as if it was any other day. I knew from previous experiences I would find Billich in his art studio, working at his next masterpiece (and there have been many), engrossed in his imagination, which when put to canvas takes one’s breath away. “I learned the value of hard work by working hard,” the world’s great anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, and Charles Billich has never been a stranger to hard work, which, together with his exceptionally brilliant talent in transporting imagination to real and tangible images through his paint brushes have earned him the kudos of a 21st century master of surrealism.  One minute he’s painting a portrait of Pope John Paul II, Saint Mary Of the Cross MacKillop or contributing his work to the halls of the White House, the United Nations, the residency of royal families. Next, he’s painting nudes of some of the world’s most desirable women, cityscapes of world’s prominent capitals, racehorses and polo tournaments, or historical figures that shaped the history of his birth country – Croatia. Billich spent his younger years escaping what he describes as “the hell of Yugoslavia” under communist leader, Josip Broz Tito. Before fleeing to Australia in 1950’s, he witnessed the massacre of those close to him in the so-called communist purges, and experienced years in jail for journalistic anti-communist activities. Charles Billich carved his successful career in the very competitive art scene by being himself and working hard, embracing the unusual and the fascinating, perpetually keeping his audience standing on their toes.

Mary MacKillop by Charles Billich
Photo: Billich Gallery

  • At 85 you still radiate with a seemingly insatiable drive to create works of art. What’s your secret?

Simple law of physics. The older you get the more you tend to energise yourself as you have a subconscience which torments you with its poor understanding of eternity. So, I have to keep in reasonable condition to download the bulk of my opus. A lot of people feel that I’ve done enough – damage – but I feel I’m just at the beginning of a meaningful career in the beaux artes. My work is my serendipity despite the usual frustrations. The older I get the more serious I become with my visual jokes.

  • Tell us about your first experience with art, with painting artworks. How did your love for art begin? What has stuck with you all these years from that first experience?

Is it a question of experience or has it to do more with inner drive than experience. A child doesn’t get exposed to too many experiences and yet a child can dream up fantasies and yet some children are driven to record them. I was a compulsive sketcher as a child and perpetually losing my attention span much to the frustration of my teachers. I’ve started as normally artists start as a doodler. As an adolescent I experienced two epiphanies, at the age of 13 ballet discovered me and I was invited to join the Rijeka Opera choir de ballet and evidently my ability caught somebody’s attention. A year later I was invited to illustrate a book by a publishing house, I don’t know how I still managed to study and read at 17, still a student I established my own magazine which became the vehicle for my rantings in writing and wild imagery in drawing and painting.

Charles Billich with one of his Sydney cityscapes
Photo: Billich Gallery

  • Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

At some point I have decided to become a career artist and my publishing house in Rijeka sent me to study. I was sent to an academy in Zagreb. With customary enthusiasm I lost my way to the academy and deviated to a flight from communism as it was putting a great deal of pressure on my psychological development. My decision to escape from communism proved to be unsuccessful and I was caught escaping from Yugoslavia at the time, which such a crime was no longer punishable by death. I survived jail escaped again successfully landing in Salzburg Austria where I continued my study making a livelihood from painting murals for the local brewery. I picked up many experiences and very rich employment record which inducted me towards a life dedicated to art.

  • If you could give a gift to the next generation of creative thinkers, what would you give them or tell them or show them?

I think it has all been said before, but I will reiterate in these very, very confused times in which we live. The necessity of individuality. I have a feeling that our mindset belongs more and more to collectivity even though I accept that collectivity may be an art of human development we should tandem with individuality at all costs. Conformism and compromise are not conducive to long term success nor a legacy. We must create our own signature no matter what our profession is, but the arts stand out as legacy that has to be marked by huge personalities and impossible egos.

  • What is your greatest indulgence in life?

My work. When I was younger, I was living in a confusion of priorities and I used to adopt enviable weaknesses of my peers and now I have a yacht that I haven’t seen in ten years.

  • Your art is unique, it stirs in one that wonderful feeling of fascination. People have referred to you as a perfectionist or a workaholic. What do you think it means to look for perfection in a painting?

Perfection can be illusionary, an artist at times is a prestidigitator. To me perfection means the ability to convey an image with as few brush strokes as possible. Superficially seen paintings are very detailed in fact because of time pressures my technique is a kind of pictorial shorthand. And every time I obtain an image with one or two brush strokes I celebrate with a drink. The main thing about art to me is the ability to convey a concept, a notion, to create a persona with very few data to construct a whole museum full of paintings, in one layout. I love composition. I had to fight for years within myself, with some false notions of simplicity until I found order, in complexity.

Homage to Dali by Charles Billich
Photo: Billich Gallery

  • Your paintings can be found in the Vatican, in the White House, at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva, on postage stamps in China, to name just a small number of the world’s hallmarks. Your paintings cover a large plethora of subjects from cityscapes through portraits, sports and religious themes. What is it, do you think, about your body of work that makes it so distinctly powerful worldwide?

I have the freedom to enter into mined territory because I believe in freedom. I take risks, these territories are most of the time unchartered and that’s an obligation if an artist wants to achieve the privilege of his or her signature. Art is about originality and uniqueness and cannot be placed in art bureaucratic structure. Ideological and political constrictions are the archenemy of any an emerging artist. Look around and see how pathetic the levels of collective artistry can be – art cannot be socialistic no matter what the “elites” expect. You can create sociological works, you my at heart barrack for labor, but your art must remain liberal

Charles Billich with Pope Francis in the Vatican 2018
A portrait of Rome to be an another Billich masterpiece
Photo: The American Sport Art Museum and Archives

  • Born in Croatia, imprisoned in former Yugoslavia as political prisoner for voicing your anti-communist stance, immigrated to Australia at a rather young age, spent most of your life living in Australia and assimilating well into the Australian society. How easy or difficult was it for you to blend into the Australian society way back in 1950’s when you arrived here from a relatively backward country at the time, from an entirely different culture, from a totalitarian regime? What was most difficult in your transitioning into a democratic and modern country that was Australia and what was the easiest?

The appeal of Australia was immediate. The level of freedom in a country like Australia was so palpable and almost sensual. Australia is still in charge of its own destiny and my fervent hope is that it doesn’t succumb to dystopias which seem so fashionable these days. I found Australia to be a better place than the one I expected and yes expectations were very high. The total absence of ethnic or xenophobic sentiments was the great fillip for my previous life contusions.

  • Do you think your Croatian cultural heritage has influenced your work and if so, how significant, large or small has that influence been? How would you describe that influence?

I’ve created a few ideas around the theme of Croatian nationhood, it’s a great complex history that I intend to study in depth in the future feeling that the history of Croatia has not reached its pictorial peaks. Even though I’ve spent most of my life away from Croatia I don’t think anybody Croatian is less confused about Croatia than I am. We are together discovering the narrative that goes with the complex. Fraternity of various people and tribes which is Croatia. To find a unique and common language in describing visually our past is well beyond my capacity and this is why I would like to set in motion an initiative that would give momentum to visual patriotism and include all up and coming Croatian  and diaspora Croatian artists. I feel that such an initiative would bring a sense of direction and improve the horizon to the Croatians’ perception of their identity and ethnicity and history.

Croatian Mother by Charles Billich
Photo: Billich Gallery

  • You have painted a few significant Croatian historical figures, what is special to you about that?

I’m fascinated by the possibility of my research and establishment of a meaningful movement towards the solidification of Croatianness.

  • Your painting of the 15th century Croatian Queen of Bosnia, Katarina Kotromanic Kosaca, is particularly fascinating as you present her to us in a modernised portrayal, what is behind your portrayal of her as if she is living now, today?

When I paint a historic painting it doesn’t have to look as if its 500 years old, it can be contemporary painting of the past, I’m not going to camouflage a new painting into an old master so when Leonardo painted the 12 apostles they were wearing 16th century fashion not biblical rags.

Croatian Queen of Bosnia Katarina Kotromanic Kosaca by Charles Billich
Photo: Billich Gallery

 

  • If at this point of your fruitful life I ask you to tell me about two most important influences that have helped you shape your own life what would these influences be?

Two artists. One is Tamara von Lempicka, the queen of Art Deco, and Salvador Dali the king of surreal art

  • Have the sources of inspiration for your work changed over the years? If yes, how?

The lesser you are influenced by characters in the art world the better for you, the more enhanced your freedom of vision and the better the results of your individual efforts to gain freedom. The main issue is this: it’s me and my server up there and sometime feeling like a channel doing the work for an extra-terrestrial force. We are part of a broad universe about which we have very little information, there are powers that we may wish to harness and there are mysteries which would never be revealed. The complexity of a universe is beyond man’s understanding and this is why I have to laugh at the accusations aimed at the humble complexities in my art

  • How would you define beauty?

Beauty is a conclusion of your upbringing, your frustrations your desires, beauty is a utopia of the eye which can never be absolute. It’s amusing that some find beauty in ugliness. I remember doing a painting of the Elephant Man and the beautiful lady who offered herself to him. You still don’t know which one was more beautiful.

Charles Billich
Photo: Billich Gallery

  • Do you plan on retiring from creating new art projects, or is art your life and the very definition of living for you?

I live for my art, I live off my art, my art is my life so my existence would be without art totally meaningless and miserable. I love my family my friends, I love my wife, but I have this condition that I cannot cure, it’s obsessive, it’s demanding it’s commanding it’s full of pitfalls, disappointment, heartbreaks, but how orgasmic.

  • You visit Croatia rather often. What draws you to visiting your country of birth? How would you compare the Croatia you left as a young man and today’s Croatia?

Apart from Sydney I think Croatia is one of the most beautiful places in world. I find Croatian people; I feel every Croatian is a member of my family and like in all families I have huge feuds with them and spectacular friendships. There is a sinister legacy of the old system of communism in Croatia, we have to be proactive in elimination of all the poisons that have been inoculated into the Croatian nation by the experiment with communism. We have won the battle against communism and we have created Croatia, but we haven’t won the war against the bacillus, am looking forward to a renaissance of old Croatian values.

Disclaimer, Terms and Conditions:

All content on “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is for informational purposes only. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” blog is not responsible for and expressly disclaims all liability for the interpretations and subsequent reactions of visitors or commenters either to this site or its associate Twitter account, @IVukic or its Facebook account. Comments on this website are the sole responsibility of their writers and the writer will take full responsibility, liability, and blame for any libel or litigation that results from something written in or as a direct result of something written in a comment. The nature of information provided on this website may be transitional and, therefore, accuracy, completeness, veracity, honesty, exactitude, factuality and politeness of comments are not guaranteed. This blog may contain hypertext links to other websites or webpages. “Croatia, the War, and the Future” does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of information on any other website or webpage. We do not endorse or accept any responsibility for any views expressed or products or services offered on outside sites, or the organisations sponsoring those sites, or the safety of linking to those sites. Comment Policy: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to voice their opinion regardless of identity, politics, ideology, religion or agreement with the subject in posts or other commentators. Personal or other criticism is acceptable as long as it is justified by facts, arguments or discussions of key issues. Comments that include profanity, offensive language and insults will be moderated.
%d bloggers like this: