This weekend I visited the Terra Art Colony located just outside the town of Kikinda. Kikinda is a city of 45,000 near the Romanian border in the heart of the plains of Vojvodina.
The Terra Art Colony is a government-funded project that provides an amazing studio and property for the fine arts. It is a former brick and roof tile factory that closed down in the 1950’s. The “Banat” region of Vojvodina is a historical region in the agricultural plains of Hungary, Serbia, and Romania. The area was once a sea and has rich, red, clay soils that were perfect for bricks and terracotta ceramics. The factory is an amazing place for making a movie or hosting a Halloween party. The head artist-in-residence Jovan, showed us around the complex. There were several studios and exhibition areas. Most of the art was terracotta sculpture and there were many interesting pieces on display. Behind the main building, there was a long drying shed that used to be for the tiles. The kids loved running up and down the spooky aisles between the drying racks. It is very nice that the factory was preserved and is put to good use. I bought a small statue of a “Lala” which is a typical guy of the Banat region. He is a chubby guy because the food is so good in the “breadbasket” of Serbia and he is pictured on top of a pumpkin. This is because the Banat is so flat, that one only has to get on top of a pumpkin to see a long way.
The artists also had a pet dog that is a breed typical of the Banat region. The Puli is a working dog known for its athleticism in protecting sheep and other livestock. They have a thick, curly coat that is waterproof. They are usually black and their fur can be very long, almost like dreadlocks.
I recommend visiting the town and especially the art colony complex. I am not sure what the opening hours of the gallery and if they give tours. My friend introduced us to the place and I think the artists came just for our group. That is one of the best features of Serbia is that it is not geared for tourists at all, so there are not many maps, brochures, advertising, etc. for the place and it felt like we discovered a secret place. I’ll try to get our visual art students to spend a day at the place.