A former Yugoslavian soldier who was seriously injured in conflict has been sponsored to help him continue his passion for sculpting in Eastbourne.
Ado Slijvic, who lives in Stone Cross, moved to the UK in 1994 after he was airlifted to Woolwich Military Hospital at the age of 21 while participating in the Bosnian War - which took place between 1992 and 1995.
Ado was drafted into the army at the beginning of the war and was blown up early on, which left him temporarily blinded and deaf.
Gordon Edwards and his wife Sandy Tsalikids met Ado while they were volunteering in Yugoslavia during the war. The couple said 27 soldiers were taken back to a house in Crowborough to receive treatment and they took a shine to Ado, who stayed with them for two years after getting out of hospital.
The couple said the former military man showed a ‘remarkable creative aptitude, especially in sculpting’ and decided to sponsor him so he could start up in business again.
The couple said, “Ado is a person who deserves a break, life hasn’t given him many. We are sponsoring him because we have so much faith in him. He is talented and we just feel he deserves it.”
The sponsorship has helped Ado with a new studio, tools and equipment which will help him get set-up in business again, the couple said.
Ado’s business is called Sussex Sculptors which can be found at Mountney Bridge Business Park in Westham, where he has several pieces on display.
A Sussex Sculptors spokesperson said, “Ado currently provides services across Sussex, Kent and Surrey. He has an outstanding ability to convey the human condition through skilful use of body language, creating drama through the pieces he sculpts.
“He is an award-winning sculptor and his work has been exhibited widely in the UK and internationally.”
In 1999 Ado was mentored by famous sculpturer Everard Meynell, who became aware of the ex-soldier’s talents and took him under his wing for seven years as an apprentice before Ado later took over the workshop from Mr Meynell when he retired in 2007.
In 2014 Ado became the resident sculptor for Chilstone - makers of fine cast stone - and was a Chelsea Flower Show finalist in 2017 with his piece called ‘Leda and the Swan’.
Mrs Tsalikids said Ado has also got a commission to create Liverpool’s liver bird and he previously sculpted Crystal Palace Football Club’s eagle.
Ado is currently working on a ‘modern style, seven noble arts based on Greek philospophy’ in his studio.
For more information, visit www.sussexsculptors.co.uk