Zeljko Kujundzic was an artist and an academic who left his mark worldwide. He was Professor Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University, died at the age of 82 in 2003 in Osoyoos, BC, Canada. He was born in Subotica, Yugoslavia, October 23, 1920, where his artistry took roots.
Zeljko received a master’s of fine arts degree from the Institute of Fine Arts in Budapest. His artistic media included sculpture, clay, painting, printmaking, metal, stained glass & weaving.
Zeljko was a Founder and Director of the Kootenay School of Art in Nelson, BC from 1959 to 1963 and head of the Art Department at Pennsylvania State University’s Fayette Campus from 1971 to 1982.
His award-winning art has been exhibited in public and private collections around the world including Italy’s Palazzo Medici-Ricardi, the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., Edinburgh University, Pennsylvania State University, National Sculpture Collection, Toronto, and Kyoto National Museum in Japan.
He was commissioned to created the Thunderbird sculptures at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, and The Gate of Life, a 135-ton sandstone archway. This monument at the Jewish Community Centre in Uniontown, Pennsylvania is dedicated to remembering those who died in the Holocaust.
Zeljko was also a writer and inventor. One of his major achievements was a working solar kiln. His autobiography, "Torn Canvas", documents his early years and his experiences in WWII, including escapes from both the Nazis and the Russians.
Zeljko Kujundzic, 1920-2003
1939 – 40 Studied art in Venice, Italy
1941 – 44 Royal College of Art Budapest, Hungary, BFA
1944 – 46 University of Budapest Fine Arts Department,
Hungary, MFA and post graduate
1946 - Teaching Diploma, Yugoslavia
1981 - Johnson Atelier Sculpture Center, Princeton New
Jersey, bronze casting
AWARDS AND GRANTS
1993 Federation International De La Medaille juried show, Budapest Hungary. Elected Canadian delegate, and received Canada External Affairs grant to attend and present paper on the History of Medallist Art;
1987 International Sculpture Exhibition ‘East / West’ Budapest, Hungary. One of four North Americans jury-selected and Canadian External Affairs funded travel grant to attend;
1985 Bronze award, International Medallist Exhibition, Stockholm, Sweden;
1978 Professor Emeritus conferred for high excellence and unusual contributions to Pennsylvania State University;
1975 Purchase prize, International Medallist Exhibition, Poland;
1972 Faculty Research Fellowships, Institute for Arts and Humanistic Studies Grant, Penn State University – ‘Integration of Sculpture with Painting’;
1964 – 69* Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation Grants –Pottery making workshops for Caribou Indians, held at Vivian Cowan’s Ranch, 100 Mile House. Pottery making workshop for Okanagan Indians, Kelowna. Metal Arts workshops for Indian students at the Art Center in Kelowna and on the Indian Reserve in Penticton;
1967 Scholarship – Artist in Residence, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
COMMISSIONS AND COLLECTIONS - selected
1991 Edinburgh’s Knox House 500 year Anniversary Renovation, five bronze reliefs of coin casts, 7” diameter wall plaques;
1987 North Central Washington Museum, ‘Kootenay Indian Girl’ painting;
1985 Bellevue Art Museum, Washington, ‘Mother and Child’ ceramic sculpture;
1981 Swiss National Museum, Geneva, ‘Twins’ 7” wheel thrown solar fired sculpture;
1980s Provincial Museum, Subotica Yugoslavia, ‘Earth Spirit’ wood and copper sculpture, 6’;
Kyoto National Museum and Art Gallery, Japan ‘Warrior’, ceramic sculpture;
Japanese Ceramic Society ‘Matriarchy’ sculpture displayed in Tajimi High School, Gifu province;
1970 Pennsylvania ‘Gate of Life’, 150 ton Sandstone monument to 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust;
First Federal Bank Pittsburgh Belvue, Pennsylvania ‘Chief and His Eagle’ 7’6” ceramic wall mural with relief pieces;
Sculptors Society of Canada, permanent collection, ‘Nuclear Demon’ cast aluminum sculpture on cherry wood base;
Several pieces in the JC Leff Collection, Uniontown, Pa;
Uniontown Pennsylvania Fayette Campus, ‘People Grow Through Envolvment’ Mural;
Placita Square, Taos New Mexico, ‘Cycles and Circles’ Mural;
1960 UBC Stadium, Vancouver BC ‘Thunderbirds’, twelve precast lightweight concrete, each 7’9”;
Middlegate Shopping center, Burnaby welded copper and bronze fountain 20’;
Crown Zellerback fountain for office;
Christ Church Anglican, Creston BC enameled copper panels;
Cranbrook Regional Hospital, BC Mural of carved wood and copper, for entrance, 9’ x 22’;
Nelson, BC Mayors Chain - 15 links composed of Kootenay silver and gold, representing the city’s origins of mining and logging, exhibited in Canadian Govt. exhibit Worlds Fair 67;
Peebles Motor Inn, Nelson, BC, “Cedars” ceramic mural;
1959 Cranbrook, B.C. Fountain, downtown Memorial to Jakob Pius Fink, Cranbrook’s first fire Chief, welded copper and concrete;
Additional pieces in the collections of:
Bellevue Art Museum, Bellevue WA
Penn State University, Pa
Edinburgh University, Edinburgh Scotland
National University, Mexico City
Canadian Embassy, Mexico City
Esso Corporation, Calgary Alta
National Communications Center, Zimbabwe
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS – SOLO
1998 Summerland Art Gallery, Summerland BC – ‘Integrated Media Art’
1995 Osoyoos Art Gallery, Osoyoos BC – ‘50th Anniversary Exhibition’
1992 Netherbow Art Center, Edinburgh, Scotland
1991 Gulacsy Gallery, Budapest, Hungary – Prints and Ceramic pit fired sculptures, ceramics created in Ketchkemet, Hungary
1990 Gallery of the Kootenays, Castlegar, BC – ‘Ancestral Images’
1986 Expo 86 UN Pavilion Vancouver, BC – exhibition, and invited to demonstrate sculpture technique at BC Pavilion
1986 Nahan Gallery, New York, NY USA - Ceramics
1981 Art Institute of Pittsburgh Gallery, Pittsburgh, Pa., USA – ‘Paintings, Drawings and Prints’, also shown at Jewish Community center and Fayette campus
1981 Gallery ’76, Wenatchee WA., USA – ‘Diversity’
1976 – 78 12 Galleries in 8 USA states, Van Arsdale Assoc. touring show – ‘Integrated Media'
1977 Kennedy Gallery, St. Vincent College, Pa., USA – ‘Cycles and Circles, work from the 70’s’
1972 Charles Pitcher Gallery, Shadyside and, Quigley Hall Art Gallery, Western State College, Pa., USA
1972 Placita Gallery, Taos, New Mexico, USA – ‘Paintings, Sculpture and Tapestries’
1970 Recent Art and Expositions Gallery, Vancouver BC – ‘Graven Images’ “Welding and metalcraft are used within the framework of carved paintings to extend dimensions, to reflect the complexity of the individual’s condition in our age”
1967 Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – Ceramic Sculpture
1958 - 64 Canvas Shack, Vancouver, BC,“57 Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland, Grabowski Gallery, London, England, New Design Gallery, Vancouver, BC, Chiltern Art Gallery, London, England, Washington State University Art Center, Spokane WA, USA, Waddington Galleries, Montreal, Quebec, Edinburgh International Festival, Scotland, K.B. Galleries, Oslo, Norway, Canadian Gallery, Calgary, Alta
SELECTED EXHIBITIONS – GROUP
1994 Seattle Pacific University Art Center, Seattle WA – Northwest Designer Craftsmen, juried
1993 Budapest, Hungary - Federation International De La Medaille, juried
1993 Zagreb, Croatia – International Small Ceramics, juried
1992 Helsinki, Finland and British Museum London – Federation Internationale De La Medaille, juried
1991 Ellensburg Community Art Gallery, Ellensburg, Wa. - Two man show with Robert Graves, paintings, prints and sculptures
1990 Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland – International Ceramics
1989 Coastal Arts League Gallery, Half Moon Bay, California – with Liz Campbell
1987 North Central Washington Museum – International Contemporary Ceramics - juried travelling show
1987 Wenatchee’s Museum and Gallery of Fine Art and Koehler Gallery, Spokane, WA. ‘The Spokane Connection – Old Friends, Recent Works’ Five teachers and students from the ‘Spokane School’
1987 Budapest, Hungary – International Sculpture, 39 countries, juried
1986 North Central Washington Museum – ‘Diversity, International Exhibition of Sculpture’ - juried travelling show, co-presented with Sculptors Society of BC
1987 John Blackaird Gallery, Toronto Ont. – Sculpture Society of Canada “Expressions in 3D”
1987 and 85 International Ceramics Exhibitions Tajimi, Japan
1985 Robson Square Media Center, Vancouver BC – ‘Sculpture 85’, Sculptors Society of BC
1985 Seattle Center, Seattle WA – Washington Potters Association
1984 Toronto, Ontario and North Central Washington Museum, Wenatchee WA., USA - International Federation of Medallists
1984 Zagreb Yugoslavia – 1st World Triennial Exhibition of Small Ceramics
1983 Plazzo Medici – Riccardi, Italy – International Medallist Exhibit, juried
1982 Museum of Crafts, Palais de Louvre, Paris - International Exhibit
1974 Peter Whyte Gallery, Banff BC – Canadian Medallist Artists
1972 Sculpture Center, University of Kansas, - International Sculpture Conference and Exhibit
1972 Gallerias Mercup, Polanko Mexico – ‘Sculptors of BC’, with Marshall, Mctaggart, Neuberger
1971 US Government Information Service touring show of: Lima, Cuzco, and Arequipa, Peru
1969 International Exhibition of Contemporary Art – Interartex Canada ‘19 Artists: Oil, Tempera, Charcoal and Watercolour’
1967 Warehouse Gallery, Yakima WA – 4 Artists with Warren Arthur, Leroy Jensen, Weldon Munden
1967 Obelisk Gallery, Mexico City – graphic art
1966 College of Further Education, Cambridge Road, Hitchin, England – ‘Paintings, Taurus Artists’
1962 and 59 Chiltern Gallery, London England, ‘two man show, Boszin / Kujundzic’ and ‘Taurus Artists’ respectively
1957 and before: Crane Kalman, Manchester, England, Galleri Benezit, Paris France, O’Hana Gallery, London, England, St. Georges, London, Leichester Gallery, London
ACCOMPLISHMENTS, lectures and teaching - selected
Fifty years of lectures, workshops and teaching internationally including: Scotland, Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Japan and USA. Range of media included: painting, sculpture, ceramics, metalworking, graphic arts, medallion making, and the creation of artist’s materials from raw and local materials. See biographical summary.
1982-84 Coordinator and Director of first International Academy of Ceramics Conference and Exhibition to be held in the US. Participants from twenty-one countries exhibited in Wenatchee, Levenworth, Seattle and Bellvue.
1983 Guest Lecturer, National school of Ceramics, Madrid Massana School of Fine Arts, Barcelona.
1983 Guest Lecturer “American Indian Ceramics” – International Academy of Ceramics Conference (20 nations attended), Iltingen Switzerland.
1968-82 Professor and Department Head for Fayette Campus, Penn State University – developed the art program for this campus.
1976-80 Solar Kiln – Researched and developed a working solar fired kiln for ceramics in response to the oil crisis and deepening concern for environmental issues. The first kiln developed on the San Juan Islands reached 5,000 watts and his later kiln produced 20,000 watts and fired pieces up to 3000 degrees. Also invented a ceramic air conditioner.
1978 Credited with inspiring and planning with interdisciplines including engineering to develop Associate degree program in Solar Heating and Cooling for Penn State University.
1970-73 Coordinator of Fayette Arts and Crafts Festival, Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
1972 Guest Lecturer “Sculpture without armature – from prehistoric time to the present” International Sculpture Conference, University of Kansas, Kansas.
1964-68 Established Arts Centre and Summer School of Art, Kelowna. A working gallery open to the public with art classes for all ages in drawing, painting, graphic arts and ceramics. Cultural evenings, readings by Patrick Lane, George Ryga, and many others.
1967 Okanagan Summer Arts Festival – Organizer and Sponsor. Open air exhibitions and demonstrations in painting, sculpture and ceramics. Live theater with John Juliani, poetry with Jurgen Gothe and Steve Cummings, mime, folk singing and a film festival of documentaries and shorts.
1960-64 Kootenay School of Arts - Founding Director, established a European Studio approach to training working artists. Department of Education conferred ‘Provincial School of Art’ status and funding in 1961
1956–58 Art Lecturer, Arts Council and Extra-mural Department of Edinburgh University, Scotland.
WRITING - selected
Ceramics Monthly, contributor.
La Ceramique Moderne, contributor.
“Earth and You – Vehicle of Current Ideas for Modern People”, monthly published non-profit publication. Frequent contributor of articles and poetry, and member of editorial board 1971-93.
“Torn Canvas”, autobiography 1957. Chronicled childhood, activities during WW2 and wrestling with internal struggles of becoming an artist. Escape from German labour camp and then from the Russians, trekking back 1000 miles through the Ukraine and Romania to Yugoslavia, then exit on foot from Hungary in 1946.
Art Critic and columns for the “Weekly Scotsman” 1950s.
“Art in the Modern World” manifesto 1956.
“The King’s Ransom” a children’s play.
MEDIA - selected audio/visual
1992 Lloyd Gallery, Penticton, BC, door carving video.
1988 Washington TV interview with Zeljko in Entiat, WA.
1985 KOMO TV, Kelowna “The Life Story and Art of Zeljko”, rebroadcast a number of times.
1978 Voice of America – one of three invited exhibitors interviewed during the five State juried ‘Three Rivers Arts Festival’, Pittsburgh, Pa – rebroadcast in 39 languages.
1960 Kelowna TV station. “Art with Zeljko”, several seasons of this weekly television show.
MEMBERSHIPS AND ASSOCIATIONS
International Federation of Medallists
International Academy of Ceramics
Northwest Designer Craftsmen
Sculptors’ Society of Canada
Sculptors’ Society of British Columbia, founding member
Contemporary Okanagan Artists, founded and president
Taurus Artists, U.K. Member and exhibitor, continued the relationship after emigrating to Canada
"Unkarica" the Fireweed 48.5 x 30 in. Mixed Media
Messenger from a Distant Future 36 x 14 x 7 in. Ceramic
Wild Dogs In Winter / Capital Punishment - 6/25 14 x 11 in. Woodblock
Flight to the Okanagan 8 x 11.5 in. Woodblock
Termites - 5/12 26 x 16 in. Woodblock
Fisherman - AP IV 16.5 x 7 in. Woodblock
Fisherwoman - 1958 -18/40 12 x 16 in. Lithograph
Ancestor 20 x 9 x 5 in. Ceramic
Kalamalka Lake 36 x 23 in. Mixed Media
Sunflowers 27.5 x 20 in. Oil on Panel
Holocaust Monument "Gate of Life" - AP II 18 x 24 in. Woodblock
POW's - 1958 - 9/25 12 x 10 in. Woodblock
Calton Hill - 1958 - 5/40 16 x 12 in. Lithograph
Edinburgh Castle - 1958 - 14/35 12 x 16 in. Lithograph
Annunciation - 1958 - 47/75 12 x 16 in. Lithograph