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The Ujević-Galetović Gallery on Silba Island

calendar iconSep 11, 2023

In the very heart of Silba island, adjacent to the St. Mary’s Church, resides an enchanting assemblage of art and architecture—the Marija Ujević-Galetović Gallery. Since its inception in August 2006, the Gallery has functioned as a temple for art lovers, showcasing the monumental life work of the renowned Croatian sculptor Marija Ujević-Galetović.


A Sculptural Ode to the Adriatic

As one disembarks from the Lolivul 9 speedboats at the Žalić Bay, the local tour guides from Zadar Archipelago boat excursions will surely recommend travellers to check out Ujević-Galetović Gallery.

A brief walk from the bay leads to an architectural marvel designed by Branko Silađin, that embodies the essence of its illustrious occupant – a modern house where the sculptor has not only lived but also birthed life into her art.

Ujević-Galetović Gallery, courtyard
Walking in the courtyard of the Ujević-Galetović Gallery is more than just about art

The arrangement in the house is such that minimalism reigns supreme, but not without the striking accents of Marija’s sculptures and paintings. Among these is the noticeable black slender sculpture known as “Kozo Jedna”—a femininely shaped body with the head of a goat, challenging conventional societal norms.

Ujević-Galetović Gallery - Kozo Jedna sculpture
There are some pieces in the gallery`s courtyard that are heavily influenced by certain social premises

The gallery and the house itself serve as a brilliant reflection of architectural mastery. The open floor plan spreads over approximately 60 square meters, crowned with entrance doors reaching a height of 2.2 meters. Everything, from furniture to fixtures, sports a minimalist design, majorly in beige and white tones.

Marija’s art is not confined to the walls of her home. The gallery is designed as a park, decorated with original sculptures from different phases of the sculptor’s creative life. As guests walk through this ‘art park,’ they are taken on a journey through time, experiencing the progression of the artist`s work. In addition to her sculptures, the garden itself is a living exhibit, teeming with Mediterranean flora.

The lush lavender bursts into blooms as summer commences, attracting an entourage of yellow butterflies, and enhancing the sensory experience of the park.

The Intersection of Art and Culture: Beyond the Sculptures

The Marija Ujević-Galetović Gallery serves as more than just a platform for aesthetic enjoyment. In the warmer months, the space transforms into a “cultural hub”, hosting a variety of different events from musical to literary themes. It is not merely a gallery but a living, breathing entity that fosters the local art and culture scene.

The space is also occasionally lent to other artists, providing a stage for visiting exhibitions and thus diversifying the cultural offerings of the gallery and the island at large.

Galerija Gletović, courtyard sculptures
Travelers and curious art enthusiasts will always find something interesting in the gallery`s courtyard

When you traverse the various sections of the gallery, what becomes apparent is the evolution of Marija’s artistic voice. Early works, influenced by traditional techniques, bear a formalism that gradually gives way to abstraction and conceptual ideas. There are collections where the artist toys with the notions of femininity, somewhere she defies traditional Croatian motifs, and still others that explore the realms of myth and fantasy.

Art Education, Emotion and Philosophy

The gallery is also a beacon for tourism. Travellers from all over the world often visit as part of their holiday, and Zadar Archipelago speedboat tours is more than happy to introduce the wonders of the gallery to a broader interested audience.

Marija, ever so passionate about art education, frequently offers workshops and lectures aimed at aspiring artists and laymen alike. The gallery’s commitment to community outreach is praiseworthy and sets a high standard for other cultural venues to emulate.

Galerija Gletović - specific sculpture
If you are experiencing the gallery for the first time, give yourself some space to take in the messages behind each art piece

The resonance of the gallery lies not just in its visual impact, but also in the emotional impact it sends through its visitors. Each sculpture seems to harbor a soul, with eyes that speak and forms that move. You might find yourself lost in the intricacies of a piece, entangled in the swirl of emotions it brings forth—be it awe, nostalgia, or even discomfort.

It’s a sanctuary that challenges visitors emotionally and intellectually, urging them to delve deeper into their own psyche as well as that of the artist

In numerous interviews and writings, Marija Ujević has articulated her philosophy: the symbiotic relationship between the observer and the art piece. For her, the gallery is more than a display; it is a conversation. This belief is reflected in the design, the placement, and the interactive elements within the space, encouraging the visitor to be an active participant rather than a passive spectator.

The Emotional Impact of the Ujević-Galetović Gallery

Numerous testimonies from visitors express how their experience at the Ujević-Galetović Gallery has been emotionally transformative and the crowning piece of their day trips with Zadar Archipelago speedboat tours. This concerns thought-provoking themes of the art, as well as the serene atmosphere of the garden, where people often leave the space with a newfound perspective on life and art.

The architecture of the Ujević-Galetović Gallery is itself a masterpiece, blending seamlessly with the art it houses. Its design incorporates natural light, open spaces, and subtle geometric forms to create a harmonious environment that complements Marija’s work.

Galerija Gletović - abstract bust sculpture
Even on the hottest of summer days, the gallery’s courtyard provides plenty of shade for all curious visitors

The Ujević-Galetović Gallery is more than just a space for showcasing Marija Ujević’s works. It has become a dynamic cultural center of Silba island that offers a multifaceted experience to its visitors, and in doing so, enriches both the local and global artistic landscapes. With its blend of traditional and contemporary elements, emphasis on interactivity and education, and commitment to sustainability and inclusivity, the gallery sets a new standard in the world of art.

And so, if you are an art enthusiast or just a casual visitor, the Ujević-Galetović Gallery offers an enriching experience that is bound to leave you inspired and transformed on your speedboat day trip with Zadar Archipelago.

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