Lullaby: Babies in Slovak Folk Dress opened April 12, 2019, at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, featuring photographs by Monika Klučiarová.
CEDAR RAPIDS — Slovak photographer Monika Klučiarová has long been passionate about taking photos of newborns, and had always held a fascination with Slovakian folk costumes, called kroje.
Combining the two created a unique art form “that merges the innocent beauty of newborns with the treasured works of our ancestors,” Klučiarová said during the opening of a new exhibit at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
Helene Cincebeaux brought examples of kroje, including elaborate headdresses. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Lullaby: Babies in Slovak Folk Dress showcases Klučiarová’s work with 10-day-old babies dressed in kroje, tailor-made by skilled Slovakian seamstresses using traditional techniques.
Sponsored by Western Fraternal Life, the exhibit runs through Oct. 9, 2019, at the museum, 1400 Inspiration Place SW in Czech Village. Visitors can take home some of those works of art in the form of calendars and postcards, sold at the museum store.
The exhibit opening on Friday, April 12, also featured a presentation by Helene Cincebeaux, co-owner of the world’s largest private kroje collection, who discussed her adventures collecting Czech and Slovak folk dress.
Selections of the Baine/Cincebeaux Collection of Czech & Slovak Folk Dress and Folk Art are displayed next to the 36 large portraits in the exhibit in the Smith Gallery.
Cincebeaux brought examples of the costumes and allowed visitors to try on headdresses, including elaborate wedding head pieces. Each village has its own style of kroje, she noted, and the head pieces signify if a woman is married or single, among other stages of life.
See more photos from the exhibit opening, below, and learn more about Czech events in Iowa.
Slovak photographer Monika Klučiarová performs a lullaby on the fujara, a traditional instrument made of maple, during the opening of the exhibit at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Visitors tour the “Lullaby” exhibit during the opening night on April 12, 2019. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Photographer Monika Klučiarová and museum president/CEO Cecilia Rokusek cut the ribbon to the exhibit on April 12, 2019. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Postcards are sold at the museum store in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Helene Cincebeaux discusses her adventures collecting Czech and Slovak folk dress. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Monika Klučiarová takes a photo of a kroj head piece after the presentation by Helene Cincebeaux. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Lijun Chadima tries on a head piece from Helene Cincebeaux after the museum presentation. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
The exhibit opening featured authentic Czech appetizers by Tomáš Slepička, at right. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Miniature sandwiches were among the Czech appetizers served at the exhibit opening on April 12, 2019. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Monika Klučiarová shares a laugh while friends try on traditional headdresses. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Carolyn Wilson, right, examines the head piece tried on by Kate Hawkins after the presentation by Helene Cincebeaux. (photo/Cindy Hadish)
Darya Bodrova, center, assistant to Slovak Republic Honorary Consul Mykhaylo Viktorovic Muzalev in Odessa, Ukraine, tries on a traditional head piece.