Bringing the family past to life

For Libert, art is all that exists and he has always adhered to the maxim that art contains everything, everything that a person has and has ever had, from birth to death

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Šjor Ante, Photo: Private archive
Šjor Ante, Photo: Private archive
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Slobodan Bobo Slovinić (Liberto Slovinić), never ceases to amaze fans of art and literature with his extraordinary works of art. The painting audience recognizes him by his paintings of a special color, by the verticals that, together with other figures of the painting skillfully placed in various colors and perspectives, form a marvelous network in which the eyes of its observers are easily caught. But for those who know this artist personally, this is not surprising. For Libert, art is all there is, and he has always adhered to the maxim that art contains everything, everything a person has and has ever had, from birth to death, and perhaps even longer, and even further. Simply, for Libert, art is everything that a person thinks and feels about.

Slobodan Bobo Slovinić (Liberto)
Slobodan Bobo Slovinić (Liberto)photo: Vijesti

The studio where he creates is his second home, and maybe even his first, because Liberto often lives in it all day, sometimes all night, especially when the painting he has begun calls to him, when it does not allow him to leave it alone, to leave it unfinished and wet. That place is a sacred place for this creator. Sacred also because Liberto creates not only top-quality works of art in his studio, but also literary works. But not just any, but the one that he devoted his whole being to his ancestors and his descendants. Less than two and a half years ago, Liberto published the first volume of the family trilogy Herbarium called Don Djuro. The backbone of this novel, published by "Interlink" from Podgorica, is the discovery of a herbarium from the end of the nineteenth century. The owner of the herbarium is Libert's ancestor Juraj, who, together with Ivan, also Slovinić, sailed to Budva by boat from the island of Brač, from the town of Postira, where they lived until then, more than two centuries ago.

The first part of the trilogy Herbarium it bears the name of the main character of this novel, Don Đura, the author's uncle, a learned man, a Catholic priest. In this part of the trilogy, the author, in addition to following the life path of his ancestors since their arrival in Budva, paints a picture of a middle-class Mediterranean family, especially Budva's, from multiple perspectives. The second part of the trilogy Herbarium Shor Ante, also bears the name of the main character of this novel, Liberto's father, who was also recently published by "Interlink".

Portrait of Nik Slovinić, Bob's grandfather, by Anastas Bocarić
Portrait of Nik Slovinić, Bob's grandfather, by Anastas Bocarićphoto: Private archive

Liberto says that in fine arts, as soon as you see a work, you can immediately know who made it. The author does not have to sign the work, it is signed by himself. It is similar in literature, so whoever reads the second volume Herbarium "Šjor Ante" (having previously read the first volume of "Don Đuro") will easily notice that this work was also written by Liberto. Just as a painter has his own colors, his own color, specific expression, so the writer has his own style of expression, his own phrases, his favorite coins, compositions, emotions. Liberto writes in an understandable and clear way. Where necessary, he resorts to Adamism, in terms of language, he returns to simplicity, which is why his literary works are specific and recognizable. In the book Shor Ante Liberto remains faithful to reality, to real events, as he did in the previous volume Herbarium, "Don Djuro".

The main flow of the story and this novel is based on real events and that has always been attractive to readers. When it comes to this book, it should be said that the aforementioned reality, on which this book is based, is reproduced by Liberto in its own way, in a way characteristic of experienced writers. In the novel Shor Ante the author indirectly expresses his position that life should not be understood exclusively as a material reality, as the realization of material laws, because apart from the body that most people enslave in terms of satisfying their needs, man also has a soul that makes him alive, makes him a man in the true sense and words.

While some writers resort to anachronism when describing events, personalities, scenes, Liberto constantly sticks to his rule (and not only his) to place the events in the time in which they really happened. The author's reflections in the novel "Šjor Ante" are literary, but to a large extent they are also philosophical and ethical. They are connected with the essential values ​​of man as a being with numerous characteristics of spirituality. Therefore, this trilogy as a whole, although the author dedicates it to his ancestors and his descendants, has universal values ​​and universal significance.

The reader of this book, encouraged by its content, must, at least from time to time, reconsider his own moral values ​​and aspirations, especially those concerning prudence and truthfulness. Šjor Ante saw the role of his existence, unlike many other selfish people whom he knew well and even worked with in business, mostly in solidarity, tolerance, empathy, especially in emotional sensitivity towards others. In this spirit, together with his wife, professor Dobrila, he raised his sons Nikola and Bob.

Through the description not only of the work of his main character Shjor Ant, but also through the description of his behavior in various, even very complex, situations that were more often unfavorable and harmful for him than favorable and useful, the author presents to the reader many of his moral and character traits .

The novel "Šjor Ante" contains mostly the most important events from the life of Anto Slovinić, the author's father. Šjor Ante was a professor by education, as was his wife Dobrila, but he also spent a significant part of his working life in journalism, he was also an editor in Pobjeda. In addition to all that, he was a respectable and highly respected citizen of Montenegro.

The beginning of the Second World War found a young married couple, šjor Anta and Dobrila, in Kotor, where they were serving. However, considering that their stay in a smaller place would be much safer, they returned to Budva. Šjor Anto was a professor of Serbo-Croatian and Italian languages, and there the command of the Italian occupiers forced him to be their translator. Šjor Ante had to agree to it and by performing the duties of an interpreter he saved many of his locals from being arrested or even killed by the occupation authorities. Unfortunately, not long after that, one dark night, the Italians also arrest Ant. In a group of the most visible citizens of Budva and the surrounding towns, he was taken away by truck to Bar, tied to a wire. In the area of ​​the Bar field, the Italians immediately shot one group of prisoners, and the other group, which included the captain Ante, was taken to Italy by steamboat the next day. His wife, Dobrila, was left alone with two small children. At first she didn't know anything about what happened to her husband. She heard that the Italians had shot a group of arrested Budvans that same night somewhere around Bar, so she was afraid day and night that her husband might be in that group. It was only after a month that she received a small letter from Shjor Ant, a grain of hope for his return to his family. Finally, she found out that her husband was alive. And not only that he is alive, but that we can hope for his return to Budva.

This novel was written by Liberto in seven chapters, and each chapter is covered in several sections titled according to the events discussed in the section.

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