A Fam­ily Tra­di­tion

Arabella - - NEWS - Brett An­ning­son

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In the be­gin­ning…

"My fa­ther, mother and I es­caped across the border from Hun­gary to Aus­tria. He was wor­ried about the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion back home," Va­lerie ex­plains. "We jour­neyed across Europe look­ing for a safe haven, and added two sib­lings as we trav­elled. Three years later, we re­turned to Aus­tria where my fa­ther, a pas­try/bread baker who had ap­pren­ticed for seven years, found some work. We were dis­placed per­sons liv­ing in bar­rack-like build­ings and then we were ac­cepted as refugees to Canada. Af­ter ar­riv­ing in Mon­treal, we added my brother to the mix." Va­lerie still re­mem­bers her first mo­ments of artis­tic cre­ation – tak­ing a pen­cil, or some­times paints, and putting ten­ta­tive de­sign to pa­per at the be­hest of her par­ents. Her mother, Mar­git, de­signed cloth­ing and de­voted her free time to in­spir­ing four-year-old Va­lerie. "She taught me to draw and paint ap­ple trees and lit­tle bal­leri­nas on their toes," Va­lerie re­calls. "She was al­ways to­tally sup­port­ive of my se­lect­ing art as a ca­reer path." Artis­tic tal­ent coursed through the gen­er­a­tions of Va­lerie’s fam­ily; her grand­fa­ther was also a painter. Al­though she never knew him, Va­lerie had heard sev­eral sto­ries about the pub­lic places in Cze­choslo­vakia where he painted mu­rals. Her fa­ther painted in oils. His favourite artist was Cha­gall, and he loved to paint mem­o­ries of his child­hood vil­lage – horses pulling wag­ons along the Danube and the lit­tle school house he at­tended as a boy, peo­pled with his long-gone friends and rel­a­tives.

left, The Souk Mar­ket, acrylic on can­vas, 33" x 43" above, The Far East­ern Mar­ket, acrylic on pa­per, 24" x 24"

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