A serious accident prevented a Canadian artist from exhibiting his works at Windgate Art & Design when that building opened to the public in September 2015, but this year he has made up for that in a big way.
Bratsa Bonifacho said he felt terrible about letting the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith’s art department down.
“I was feeling worse and worse about what happened and decided to bail myself out and do something good for the new gallery,” he wrote in an email recently.
He donated eight of what he described as his “favorite paintings” and even picked up the cost of shipping for a total donation valued at about $117,000.
Bonifacho said the paintings were in his private collection and are part of his Habitat Pixel series. He chose to present eight works because he wanted his gift to have an impact.
“When I decide to donate to an institution I really hate to give just one or two pieces that don’t say much about the artist, his work, or what he wants to say. I’d rather give something concrete, valuable and impressive.”
He added that he hoped his gift would encourage others to make similar gifts.
Don Lee, associate professor of art and director of the Windgate gallery, described the gift as “generous beyond words.”
“The addition of this work to the UAFS permanent collection of art is most important in terms of growing the collection for the purpose of education, art and culture,” Lee said.
The artist’s approach to art as to “visual communication” reflects the curriculum of the UAFS art department. “Bonifacho’s form and content, the result of professional studio practice, is inspirational, relevant and meaningful to art students in the foundation courses, graphic design and studio art majors,” Lee said.
The paintings contribute to the university’s mission and goal, he said.
The Bonifacho works hang in the Nadine and Bob Miller Pre-Function Gallery. They were first exhibited publicly at opening reception for the Aethiopia Awakening exhibit on Sept. 19.
Bonifacho was born in Belgrade, in what was Yugoslavia.
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