This will make my third visit to Croatia in the last 15 years and one might ask what is the fascination with this place by a fourth generation Los Angeles boy? It all started when I moved to Anacortes in 1995. At the time I probably had only a vague notion of where the country was even located on a map. Had I been asked about this at the time, I might have responded “sounds Slavic, close to Poland isn’t it”?
This all changed when I started working at the Depot Arts Center and immediately fell in love with local Croation influences sponsored by Maria Petrish and the Vela Luka Croation Folkdance Troup and Orchestra, not to mention the Croation community as well, here in Anacortes.
After a few years of following the performances of The Vela Luka Dancers and orchestra and eating meals at the Croation Club and in people’s homes, I was invited to travel with the Troup on a tour in Croatioa. This was in the year 2000 and we spent 17 days traveling all over Croatia giving performances with me photographing everything in sight!
By this time I was well and truly hooked. Croatia is an amazing place and the people are great. Unlike many other places in the world, I do not feel out of place here. Unlike home, the people have a great respect for history and their place in it, with different ethnic traditions that serve to unite the country, rather than divide it. One can’t help but admire this.
So here I am, back again and taking pictures like crazy. I am beginning to realize that my collection is starting to get sizable, and after considering what I should do to display them I have decided to make a website (mariushibbard.com). I will add more images as I go along, as well as text explaining it all. So tune in frequently as the content will evolve.