Portraits by Melita Vovk put on show at NUK

Ljubljana – The National and University Library (NUK) in Ljubljana will put on show on Tuesday portraits Melita Vovk (1928-2020) drew of a number of Slovenian writers and participants in PEN international meetings of writers in Slovenia’s Bled.

NUK put on the exhibition after Vovk’s daughter Ejti Štih, a painter, donated it some 300 portraits, most of them of PEN meetings participants from the 1990s and some portraits of Slovenian writers from the 1950s.

Part of the donation are also newspaper cuttings, photographs, PEN brochures and similar documentary material, which NUK hopes will help it in setting the collection in the broader context of the Bled meetings, and in identifying unknown or unnamed portraits.

Vovk drew the portraits by using pencil or felt-tip pens, but also ballpoint pen, charcoal and wax pencils on a variety of machine-made papers, mostly of A3 size.

Some of the portraits have been put on show before while some will be displayed for the first time, NUK said as it announced the show.

The portraits have been “put into words” by poet Boris A. Novak, and a verse from a poem dedicated to Vovk – “each portrait is an inimitable, a unique world” – was used as the title of the exhibition.

Apart from making paintings, prints and drawings, Vovk illustrated more than 80 books while she also worked on a number of theatre and puppet productions. In 2010 she received the Hinko Smrekar Prize, one of the top accolades for illustration.

The exhibition will be open until 9 May.