The passion of a lifetime – Interview of Benjamin Žnidaršič, Mouth painter, Association Ars Viva

Good morning Beno! Oh Marie! Thank you so much to host us here, in Podcerkev, in the Municipality of Loška Dolina. My first question would be: what is this place? Is it a youth hostel, a cultural association, a place of living? This place is all in one. This is a cultural center, an education center. We like to see it as something new, something special, something friendly. I can see that this place is accessible for people in wheelchair. Was it a first commitment for you? I’ve started with the paraplegic association of Slovenia we made some cultural projects with this association. I worked there oh… 20 years! I’m also in a wheelchair. Then came my painter time. You are a mouth painter… Yes I’m a mouth painter. Then my father died and left me all this land. I had to do something with this. For years I’ve been thinking – what can I do with this? Now it looks beautiful but this farm used to belong to your grandfather? Tradition meets modernity… I was born in this house! I was born in 1959. The house was crashed, my daughter prepared the plans… One of my daughtersis a lawyer and the other one is architect. I made it okay! Yes! And if you feel good, I think that other guests can also have a good feeling here. This cultural association called Ars Viva, you created it? Ars Viva means, in Latin language, “art in the moving” You wanted to build something international? But this place is also very important locally, for the people of the community. When you build European projects, you must be international and also for the local people. First, I started to read stories for children we have an art school and other projects for education: computer workshops, video workshops… So many children coming these times How did you discover mouth painting? When I worked at the paraplegic association of Slovenia, we had some workshops also for the of the painters and we had mouth painters. And when I started to work with them, I started also myself. What do you like about it? Painting is something like a game. A children game. I usually paint in the evening,
when I’m alone. These paintings are for me now
really a big occupation. What makes you happy having this place running? All! It’s for me fantastic! This is my life! I’ve always dreamt about it. I have the feeling that you like creating
link between people… Yes! I like people! When I was young, I was a sport man and used to teach to children basketball, football, I was a ski teacher, a swimming teacher… I have so much experience with young people. and this things also make me happy. I like to work with children. Today two mouth painters are coming here? Yes, at Ars Viva we have a painters group, we also have a photographers group. Just a few days ago, we got a price, the second price of Slovenia, for the painting association. I guess that when something terrible happens and you end up in a wheelchair, you have two options: Give up or fight. So when you had your accident, you finally decided to fight, right? Yes… But not from the start. I fell down from a cherry tree In the start, I had so many problems! I lived three years in the hospital, when I started to go to the rehabilitation center, those times were not so happy times… and then I needed to keep going! First I started to write poems and this way I cleaned myself. I kept up and fought! And something beautiful came out of it! Yes, but first I needed time, also I have so great people to help me and now I can help others! I’m so happy that you came here! And I think that together we can make something good for the world! Yes we do!! Thank you very much for opening your doors. We spent much more time here than we thought because we felt so good! If you haven’t felt good here, I think you wouldn’t have stayed stay here!! Thank you very much! Nice! Nice, Marie My girls and boys! Cheers

  1. My unique guest prepared a great and nice surprise that I got teary eyes when I watched the movie. Thank you Marie and Nil

  2. – Podcerkev Institute Ars Viva – Our Slovenian Youth hostel

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