‘In Honor of Dubrovnik’ exhibit highlights the magnificent masterpieces of Mersad Berber in Dubrovnik

On Wednesday evening, the exhibition ‘In Honor of Dubrovnik – Homage to Dubrovnik’ by the renowned artist Mersad Berber was opened at the historic Dubrovnik Lazareti. The exhibition of this prominent painter and graphic artist in Dubrovnik is brought to you by the Mersad Berber Foundation, under the patronage of the City of Dubrovnik and Dubrovnik Heritage. The event was attended by numerous individuals from the cultural, political, and social spheres. Berber’s works can now be found in numerous museums worldwide, and the Foundation’s goal is to preserve the masterful collection of artworks by this visual virtuoso. Visitors will have the opportunity to view the most beautiful and impressive works of this great artist, all centered around the theme of Dubrovnik: a city he deeply cherished, where some of his most significant works were created. Ira Berber, the director of the Mersad Berber Foundation, invited those present to revel in the enchanting world of Berber’s art. She emphasized that Dubrovnik held a special place in his heart, considering it his third home, alongside Zagreb and Sarajevo. Berber family with Hanka Paldum “In wartime Dubrovnik, he arrived with the first humanitarian convoy and began to paint. He felt the suffering of the city he loved in so many ways—its history, architecture, and beauty,” said Ira Berber. The opening ceremony also featured two special guests: Terence Rodrigues, a former director of the London auction house Christie’s and an honorary member of the Mersad Berber Foundation, and art historian Antun Karaman, a native of Dubrovnik. Rodrigues remarked, “He was not inclined toward abstract art, nor was he attracted to minimalism or pop art. Mersad Berber created a personal style that can be described as polyphonic, as it gives the impression of several paintings layered upon each other.” Rodrigues expressed that the artistic giant would undoubtedly be pleased to know that his works were exhibited at the Lazareti. The words of art historian Antun Karaman were particularly touching, describing the art championed by Berber as ‘art of the heart’: “Having collaborated with him for more than 30 years, I have gained truly exceptional experiences. I’m not one for public speaking, but when Ensar Berber asked me to say a few words at the opening, I gladly accepted. Not only because Berber was an exceptional artist but also because he was an exceptional human being.” In the name of the City of Dubrovnik, Katarina Doršner extended her greetings to those gathered, saying, “Dubrovnik will never forget that Mr. Mersad Berber came to the city during its most challenging days. It was a time when coming here was not easy, and the convoy with which he arrived gave the people of Dubrovnik a sense that freedom would eventually come.” The Lazareti exhibition is divided into three parts: works from the Dubrovnik Flora cycle, Homage to Vlaho Bukovac, and a special segment for the Lazareti exhibition, the War Diaries cycle. During the opening, the Dubrovnik audience had the opportunity to witness the premiere presentation of the set from Gundulić’s epic ‘Osman,’ a theater production by the Croatian National Theatre (HNK) in Zagreb from 1993. ‘In Honor of Dubrovnik’ is valued at more than 1.5 million euros, and Ida Berber, the director of the Mersad Berber Foundation, stated, “One is the monetary value, and the other is the value of the paintings that visitors have the opportunity to see at the Lazareti. They are not for sale, nor will they ever be. The Foundation will always preserve them, and the works are only visible through the exhibitions we organize.” The Foundation has long wanted to showcase Berber’s works, and the end of September proved to be ideal, along with the choice of setting: the magnificent and restored Lazareti. As part of Dubrovnik Heritage, they are located in the heart of Dubrovnik and are the only preserved quarantine buildings in the European Mediterranean region under UNESCO protection. Berber’s ‘In Honor of Dubrovnik’ confirms that Lazareti are excellent for exhibitions as well as various other social events. All interested individuals can visit the exhibition until October 23 in the heart of Dubrovnik, at the magnificent and restored Lazareti.

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