A pas-de-deux with Rajka Kupesic

Acknowledged as an emeritus painter for her body of work composed of elegant, refined and feminine compositions, Rajka Kupesic is a multi-talented Canadian artist of Croatian origin. Born in Zagreb in a family of artists, she first pursued a career as a professional ballerina, before developing an interest in visual arts and music. It is at the moment of her relocation to Toronto in 1979 that she undertook the painting career from which she gained the international recognition she is still known for today. All along still passionate about dance, she opened her own classical ballet school in 1993, and has more recently instilled this favored theme in her art. The present exposition intends to draw the spectator into her universe through a dance between a painter and art enthusiasts.

Debuting her artistic career at the age of four, Rajka Kupesic was first initiated to dance, earning a diploma from the National School of Classical Ballet of Zagreb after many years of rigorous training. Subsequently followed by a professional career that allowed her to perform as ballerina all over her country, but also throughout Europe, she established in Toronto at the end of the 1970s. Rajka Kupesic than moved on to a second passion that she had also been nurturing since a very young age; painting. Self-taught, she developed in this field her own approach to the naïve style, while being influenced by her knowledge of traditional and folkloric Western European art. Exhibited in a myriad of galleries, her work is now found amongst collections in Canada, the United States and Europe. Locally to the Eastern Townships, her work was publicized through the Galerie Jeanine Blais in North Hatley.

Engaging with a variety of themes from everyday life, Rajka Kupesic prioritizes women and relentlessly depict them with grand elegance. Amongst her most famed realizations, connoisseurs will remember her series of 17 canvases relating the story of Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hémon that was presented at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Sherbrooke in 1993.

Committed for the past 15 years to training young ballerinas with the same rigor from which she benefited in her youth, the artist engages nowadays in both her passions simultaneously. In this context, classical ballet appeared as a dominant theme in her latest work. Initially creating a series of paintings to illustrate a book by author Karen Kain published in 2005 and celebrating the Nutcracker Ballet, she most recently dedicated her time to the illustration of her own publication, Les Ballets Blancs. The International Museum of Naïve Art of Magog is delighted to showcase this remarkable creation.