Zlatan Vehabović Goes Out to SeaIllustration // Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Croatian artist Zlatan Vehabović’s current body of work embodies literary adventure themes, such as men at sea and fantastical animals, including a huge beached whale like creature. These works are inspired by the song “My Donal,” written in the 1960s by Scottish author Owen Hand. The song’s narrative, set around the 17th or 18th century, addresses the pain endured by the worrying wives of whalers as they grappled with the uncertainty of what would happen to their husbands while at sea. In Cursed Crew, Vehabović mesmerizes us with his use of color: the azure blue of the sea beckons us while the reflections of lights on the whalers’ faces warn us to keep our distance. Similarly, the work titled Grytviken engulfs the viewer in a haunting sea of darkness as the stark white iceberg looms under the still, grey sky. “My Donal” yielded an entire body of work that confronts three issues: the relationship of a separated couple, adventure, and Foucault's notion of heterotopia, or the concept of describing spaces and places that function outside of social structures, with rules of their own that are uninfluenced by the outside world. Vehabović asserts, “It is rare that so many personal and important notions can be found in one single song.” Vehabović earned his Ph.D. in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.