THE world's largest collection of Croatian art is on its way to the Hong Kong Arts Centre for a week-long display. Out of the ugly ravages of war that has engulfed former Yugoslavia comes a collection of colourful works. It opens tomorrow and runs until October 14. The exhibition, which also includes contemporary works from Slovenian and Italian artists, has been brought to the territory by the President of the International Centre for Modern Art in Italy, Professor Sonja Duska Barbieri. Professor Barbieri, who is Slovenian, has collected, selected and exhibited such works internationally for nearly 30 years. The display features paintings, graphics and a number of tapestries, one of which has been donated by the professor to the Hong Kong Cancer Fund. Works range in value from US$4,000 to over US$100,000. Professor Barbieri's favourite piece, and the most valuable in the collection, is a canvas painting by Ivan Lackovic called Two Flowers and a Tree which is valued at US$122,000. ''I feel the work touched me from the moment I first saw it,'' explained Professor Barbieri. ''It has a certain warmth to it that really attracts me.'' Professor Barbieri started her collection during her days as prima donna for a Yugoslavian opera company. Ten years ago she had reached 2,000 works but that has since dropped to around 600 pieces. She has donated 40 to the Vatican. One hundred and thirty pieces go on show in Hong Kong. The exhibition has already toured 39 museums and art galleries across Europe, Asia and the Americas. Despite seeing many different types of art during her time abroad, Professor Barbieri's passion for works from her homeland remains. ''I love all art, in all forms, from all cultures. I've really seen a lot of lovely works in my travels but since I beganmy collection of Croatian, Italian and Slovenian pieces, they have been like a drug to me. ''Many of these artists were uneducated peasants whose natural artistic ability enabled them to produce such amazing works. I just can't stop collecting these lovely works. '' Highlights of the exhibition, which goes on to Taiwan and Japan after Hong Kong, are the Croatian Naif art of Lackovic's oil paintings on glass and Ivan Rabuzin's canvas pieces. Slovenian and Italian artists' works include tapestries and xylographies by Luigi Spacal and assorted works from Jose Ciuha. The display will also be accompanied by a film on Naif art, with music by the Zagreb Symphony Orchestra and arias sung by Professor Barbieri herself.