An exhibit is set up at the Mennonite Heritage Centre (MHC) Gallery and the artwork reflects how the artist views himself after immigrating to Canada.
On May 6, artist, Milos Milidrag, presented the public with a collection of his artwork titled, Who am I? A Retrospective.
Before moving to Canada in 1997, Milidrag was a professor of fresco and mosaic at the Faculty of Fine Arts, the University of Pristina (now the Republic of Kosovo).
"The transition wasn't easy really because I came here without any English. I didn't know anybody, just me, my wife and my son who learned English in high school and he was an interpreter for us for everything," says Milidrag.
Not only had his life faced a transition, but his art style as well. Growing up, Milidrag focused on French artwork and after moving to Canada he was surrounded by a different style of art.
Since moving to Canada, Milidrag has also offered art lessons. Pat McCullough, a long-term student of his, spoke very highly of his talents.
"He's a brilliant artist and a brilliant teacher. I learned so much from him. I wouldn't be where I am now if I hadn't been taking classes with him," says McCullough.
Incorporating Faith with Art
Milidrag also incorporates religion into his pieces, with elements of Christian and Islamic styles.
"I was born in a communist country where religion was prohibited and as a kid, I couldn't go to church. But I always liked to go to my grandparents and every evening before supper my grandfather would pray," says Milidrag.
Milidrag practices Orthodox Christianity and recalls back when he was younger, he would look at an icon of St. George, his family's protector, and became captivated by the design of the icon which sparked his interest in art.
"I found faith in art, actually, and I like to say my church is my studio, my art is my prayer."
In a painting dedicated to his mother, Milidrag said he incorporated very specific elements to reflect how he saw his mother. With a figure to be well-dressed, a fish to represent her Christian beliefs, and dark flowers to show that she has passed on.
"Art is close to the Creator, is what I believe, because the Creator did everything. We are artists and we're trying to create, to add something to this form, not to copy."
The art exhibit is available until June 18, at the MHC Gallery at Canadian Mennonite University.