On 8 March 2023, marking this year’s International Women’s Day, the National and University Library in Zagreb (NSK) put on Croatia’s Great Women – Here’s Who They Are, a special exhibition honouring the courage, intelligence, creativity and dedication of notable women of Croatian cultural heritage.
Featuring resources in the Library’s collections, especially those preserved as part of its Print Collection, Manuscripts and Old Books Collection and Music Collection, the exhibition is spotlighting the life and work of eight Croatian prominent female writers and artists in the field of visual arts and music Marija Jurić Zagorka, Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, Vesna Parun, Vjera Bojničić, Anka Krizmanić, Fani Daubachy Brlić, Ivana Lang and Blanka Chudoba.
A virtual exhibition thematising the 20th-century composer and pianist Ivana Lang is also part of the exhibition programme, along with a video presentation featuring 30 woodcuts by Anka Krizmanić of the famous German dancer and choreographer Gertrud Leistikow.
At the opening programme, Dr Ivana Skuhala Karasman from the Institute for Philosophy gave a brief talk about the legacy of women in Croatia between the 16th and 19th centuries and the circumstances in which they lived and worked, and gave an overview of the position of women in Croatia and globally. Also, the Zagreb Upper Town Witches ensemble performed a sketch innovatively presenting some of the most distinguished female figures of Croatia’s history and culture.
The exhibition also features two murals created through the Library’s cooperation with the Zagreb Academy of Fine Arts. The more recent one – painted under the supervision of the Academy’s collaborator Dr Melinda Štefčić by Anamarija Kvas, the mural’s author, and Manuela Košević, both students of the Academy – has been prompted by the 150th anniversary of the birth of Croatia’s first professional female writer, journalist and journal editor Marija Jurić Zagorka and the other is dedicated to one of the greatest authors of Croatian literature and the most translated Croatian woman poet Vesna Parun, the centenary of whose birth the Library marked in 2022.
Other significant anniversaries which also provided the background for NSK Celebrates Women programme, as part of which the Croatia’s Great Women… exhibition is currently being held, are the 85th anniversary of the death of a six-time nominee for the Nobel Prize for Literature Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić, 140th anniversary of the birth and the 60th anniversary of the death of painter and printmaker Vjera Bojničić and the 140th anniversary of the death of painter Fani Daubachy Brlić.