Bosnian celebrates her 100th birthday with her own art exhibition

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SARAJEVO, October 21 (Reuters) – Nada Rudan is at her most relaxed when she is painting, a skill she discovered at the age of 87 and which culminated in an exhibition of her artwork this summer – to mark her 100th birthday.

Born in Bosnia, Rudan says she started painting late to keep herself busy and now finds the days are often too short to get everything she set out to do. Her daily routine consists of painting for three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon when she is at home.

“I don’t know what boredom means, I don’t know what depression means, I always find something to do,” she says.

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Her independent spirit, good health and love of travel help her in this.

After her exhibition in Sarajevo at the end of June, Rudan took a month’s vacation on the Adriatic coast and then continued on to Germany, where her daughter lives.

“I am determined not to be a burden to my children,” said the mother-of-two, grandmother-of-three, and great-grandmother-of-four in her spacious home in central Sarajevo, surrounded by some of her estimated 200 paintings.

“And I’m calm, I don’t want to be nervous, I always think first and then act,” says Rudan, who earned her living as a seamstress and looked after “select clients” until she was 85.

“I’m still in good health, my hands are strong, my eyes serve me well,” she says, adding that she rarely wears glasses when painting.

She lovingly tells of frequent trips with her children and grandchildren over the past decades. After her husband’s death in 1999, Rudan visited the United States, Central America and numerous European countries, and these trips inspired many of her paintings, such as a volcano in Hawaii and pyramids in Mexico.

She visited Hollywood at the age of 95 and was allowed to enter the theater where the Oscars are held. “That was such a treat!”

Rudan prefers to paint nature and uses acrylic paints “because they don’t smell”.

She considers herself more of an “amateur” than a “true artist”, but is very proud that all her family, friends and neighbors came to see her exhibition.

“You have to be positive in life and hope for the best, there will always be a solution,” says Rudan, who survived both World War II and the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb troops.

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Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Susan Fenton

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