Zora Verona proudly embraces her creative identity as an ode to her grandmothers, Zora and Verona. During the Second World War in occupied Slovenia, Zora wasn’t even able to honour and christen her children with names in their own native tongue, let alone have the freedom to create works of art. The life stories of these women tell of freedoms fought for and hardships endured, so it is with reverence and gratitude that Lori Kravos chooses to create and exhibit under the name Zora Verona.
“…the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace.”
The houses that be our heritage and our ancestors protected and sheltered us to dream, to create, to live in peace. Freedoms fought for and hardships endured, we owe much to those that came before.
When it came time to ‘give birth’ to my artistic expression, I pondered the name I would create and exhibit under. To honour the women who came before, with reverence to my grandmothers, Zora & Verona, resonated as a perfect choice.
My grandmother Zora was born in 1903 in the small Slovenian village of Skrilje. Pictured is Skrilje’s Gostilina pri studencu (Guesthouse by the spring) where she was born. At last visit, the mulberry tree to the left of the front courtyard still stood with a gracious and generous canopy to shelter and protect many a daydream.
“People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead…. then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back to put the wrong things right. ”
My grandmother Verona was born in 1905 in a mountain pass named after the nesting crows. And while the Crow’s Nest Pass remains straddling the mountains between the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta today, her birth town of Michel is no longer. It choked on a haze of coal as dark as any crow’s feather.
After one too many explosions, in far too few years, scores of souls of mining men soared with the crows. The death toll climbed to an unacceptable level forcing the closure of the mines and the towns of Michel and their neighbouring communities of Natal and Middletown followed, to wane and fade from view.
In choosing to honour Verona, it is with the intention that my reverence for the hardships of the past never wane and my gratitude for the freedoms of the present never fade.
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