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Rovinj: An artists’ colony on the Adriatic

It was a wet and windy evening on Naked Hill. The heavy rain was lashing at the windows of Tomislav Brajnovic’s white stone studio.

We sat at a table beside an open fire, eating squid caught locally by the artist himself, with rocket salad dowsed in Istrian olive oil, washed down with red wine from his own vineyard. On the walls of the studio hung Tomislav’s works – he was once a student at Central Saint Martins – which appropriate old pictures and books with slogans such as “Allow me to be tolerant but to disagree” and often challenge what he considers to be “unethical art” to reveal a political context.

One of his installations included putting a sign saying “Theatre of Crime” outside the amphitheatre in Pula.

Naked Hill – Golo Brdo in Croatian – is in Rovinjsko Selo, a small town about four miles from the exquisite 14th-century city of Rovinj on the west coast of the Istrian pensinsula.

Tomislav’s studio sits beside the family home, a curious hybrid of church, fortress and house. Across the way, his father, Marcelo, 79, also an artist, has just built himself “a mini-factory”, where he will produce packets of communion wine and wafers to be sold in supermarkets. “Why should the church have the monopoly?” is his motivation. Marcelo’s art has always been provocative, even during the days of the former Yugoslavia. More

By James Hopkin  http://www.independent.co.uk