An unexpected discovery
‘I first discovered Springvale Botanical Cemetery when I was looking for a resting place for my dad in 2011,’ Vanja told us.
‘When my father passed away, my mother and I wanted to find a resting place for him that felt beautiful and hopeful. We were drawn to Springvale Botanical Cemetery as a place that is accessible for my mum who can hop onto the bus to visit, but also because it is an uplifting space that provides a warm and welcoming place to remember, grieve and heal.’
Taking photographs is an important part of each day for Vanja, so photography came naturally when she found herself among Springvale’s surrounds.
‘On Saturdays I would spend a couple of hours at Springvale, visiting dad and then going for a walk,’ she told us. ‘There are so many gardens to discover; tropical, seasonal and traditional. So much to explore and see.’
Vanja studied Fine art at RMIT and has a Master of Teaching from Melbourne University. She now teaches art in its many forms including drawing, painting and photography.
In her long career as an artist, she has explored diverse mediums, from paintings based on traditional Bosnian textiles to digital compositions that explore shape and colour.
Finding the moments of beauty
‘Much of my work is about memory and remembering,’ she shared.
‘I am fascinated by textures, colours, light and the way it changes through the day. One of my works is an exploration of the textures and shapes of gum tree bark. Every tree has so many moments of hidden beauty waiting to be discovered and a story to tell.
Recently, Vanja exhibited one her works at the FLORA exhibition at Dandenong Heritage Hill Museum.
The artwork entitled, We’ll be together forever in the temple of gum trees and magpies, is a beautiful surreal-like exploration of grief captured through the subject of nature and the lens of her camera.