Three Mourners

text, drawings and photograph by Smiljan Radić

My grandfather left the island of Brač in Croatia in 1919, without knowing how his time in Chile would treat his memories. The only book I inherited from his small collection is called Brač, Photographic Monograph, Book No.5, published in Spain and edited by Ognjen Prica in Zagreb, in 1967. The Monograph shows a stark, grey, poor and primitive island. The cover is a map without roads, followed by a poem written by the poet Vladimir Nazor, functioning as a prologue. Each paragraph of the poem begins with a denial in capital letters, thus encouraging fast reading of an already brief and austere poem within an extended prose. A bizarre coincidence happened in 2016, when we rented a house beside a false acropolis built out of reinforced concrete, in the port of Bobovišća na Moru on the island of Brač, where Valdimir Nazor spent his childhood and youth, and where, much later, he built a tower atop a crag in a deserted plot right beside our small garden and even later built a small temple we saw every day during our holidays. The poet installed this artefact strangely downhill, letting it fall around the curve of a narrow inlet, thus turning Bobovišća na Moru into a protected port. The three Doric columns that hold up the image of the small temple – evoking his three sisters, Irma, Olga and Amelia, and their trips to Greece - are crowned with an equilateral triangular lintel. Each in their own corner, they appear to be looking at the landscape in every direction, abandoned further out than normal, while they protect an empty interior under the open sky.