The Princess of the People

Exhibition of paintings by Her Royal Highness Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević in Budapest

Artworks of the highly esteemed and beloved Serbian Princess Jelisaveta Karađorđević were exhibited at the Tekelijanum institution in Budapest on May 23, 2024. The institution is dedicated to preserving the language, culture, and tradition of Serbs. This cultural and educational foundation was established by Sava Popović – Tekelija in 1838, with the aim of educating poor and talented students from all regions where Serbs lived.

Thanks to the Serbian Orthodox Eparchy of Buda from Szentendre, Bishop Lukijan, Protosynkellos Varnava Knežević, lawyer and art collector Dušanka Subotić-Homen, professor Milan Đurić, the Embassy of the Republic of Serbia, and many other deserving individuals who strive to preserve Serbian culture, language, and tradition in Hungary, admirers of Her Royal Highness Princess Jelisaveta gathered. She presented about twenty paintings and drawings, in smaller formats, using watercolor and ink techniques.

Today, Sava Popović – Tekelija would have been honored that such a program took place in his foundation, involving students from the “Nikola Tesla” school, attended by all generations from kindergarten to high school, taught in the Serbian language. The choir was conducted by Professor Olivera Mladenović-Munišić. The professor and students demonstrated through their smiles and pleasant tones that one can enjoy preserving Serbian heritage and proudly stand face to face with Princess Jelisaveta, who has fought for it since childhood until today.

Bishop Lukijan expressed hope that these exhibited artworks would inspire others, especially the youth, to pick up the brush and express their feelings. The nobility of Princess Jelisaveta’s soul, who grew up far from Serbia, longing to return to her homeland, is discernible through her paintings.

Dušanka Subotić-Homen, a lawyer and collector of artworks by various artists, is one of the organizers of this exhibition. She expressed her desire to continue organizing similar exhibitions in the future, inspired by the great interest of visitors and participants, calling them “Little Serbia.” She spoke with admiration about the perseverance and courage of Princess Jelisaveta in rehabilitating her family and returning to Serbia for the first time in 1987, finally settling permanently in Belgrade in 2007.

From an ordinary blot, she sees beautiful outlines that inspire her to paint a picture

Dušanka Subotić-Homen, with great passion in her speech, described Princess Jelisaveta as a down-to-earth woman who interacts and converses with the people and even goes shopping at the market and grocery store herself because she is a “true, Serbian, people’s princess.”

One of the most meritorious Serbs in Hungary is Professor Milan Đurić, an academic artist. He has received various awards for preserving Serbian culture in Hungary and promoting Serbian contemporary art. He announced that the next step is a similar event because in art, there are no boundaries, as reflected in the name of the Association “Art Without Borders,” conceived by the organizers of this exhibition. Professor Đurić stated that Princess Jelisaveta’s exhibited works are multifaceted, like her soul, versatile, recording her observations wherever she is in the world. He would add a subtitle, “Jelisaveta’s Worlds,” to the title of this exhibition, “Jelisaveta’s Album.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Jelisaveta, visibly excited and moved to tears, explained that even when something seems ugly, we can find something beautiful in it. From an ordinary blot, she sees beautiful outlines that inspire her to paint a picture. She has followed this philosophy since childhood. In everything bad, she saw something good. That’s why she fought to return to her homeland. And she succeeded. She thanked everyone who helped her in that endeavor.

Her Excellency Biljana Gutić-Bjelica, the Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Hungary, expressed sympathy with Princess Jelisaveta, as she knows well what it feels like to be expelled from one’s home. She vividly remembers the most common question: “Did you save the photo albums?”

When the exhibition was declared open, lively chatter, greetings, smiles, added new, festive colors, but – at the same time, an unpretentious atmosphere prevailed in the hall, where the paintings and drawings of the lively, experienced, and soulful visual artist strutted, embodying life experiences and soul.

Photo: Fekete Miklós


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