Art conservationist looks back

Alumna Srebrenka Bogovic-Zeskoski and her art ventures

Queen’s Art History programme has produced plenty of successful alumni, and Srebrenka Bogovic-Zeskoski is no exception.

Graduating from Queen’s Masters of Art Conservation program in 1985, Bogovic-Zeskoski works as both an art conservationist specializing in painting conservation and a professor of visual arts at York University.

“Conservation for me married the two disciplines that I was very fond and that I graduated in: chemistry and art history,” Bogovic-Zeskoski told the Journal via email. “There was no other field except conservation that I am aware of in which the two are so well suffused and balanced.”

Being a Queen’s Master’s graduate, Bogovic-Zeskoski has been able to use her specialized degree to restore and conserve numerous artworks and make a career out of it.

“Art conservation is a specific discipline which has changed remarkably over a period of time,” she said. There are always art objects in need of “looking after."

According to her, Queen’s conservation program isn’t just proficient, but one of the best in the world.

“The programme, which was started by professor Ian Hodkinson, really prepared us to be confident in our knowledge and skills. The programme balanced the theory and the ‘hands on’ practice so well,” Bogovic-Zeskoski said.

Today, she runs a successful restoration business which goes by the name "In Restauro", and owes much of her professional accomplishments to her education at Queen’s.

“Graduating from this programme enabled me to start a very successful private practice called In Restauro,” she said.

“The name was chosen — as I remember — traveling as a student in Italy,” she said. “I once went to see a particular work of art only to find a note saying ‘in restauro’, advising the museum goers that the artwork is not available for viewing as it was being restored.”

During her two years at Queen’s, Bogovic-Zeskoski also completed two obligatory internships: one at the Restoration Institute in Zagreb, Croatia and the other at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto.

“The best part for a conservator is a very satisfied client who thought that his/her cherished artifact is beyond salvation,” she said. “Often this need not be something of a great monetary value, and often it is not, but it is of a great sentimental importance.”

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