DENANA HABIBOVIC |
Arts, Activism and Social Justice Summer School
| Urban Word Collective
| Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Many people around the world know about the horrors that Bosnians and Herzegovina went through in the war of the 90s. Fewer people know that on May 31, 1992, the Muslim population of a town in northern Bosnia called Prijedor was ordered to hang white canvases on their houses to identify them for shooting. By the same order, Muslims and Catholics in this city had to wear white bands on their upper arms in order to be marked and then killed. Until 1995, there were three infamous camps in this city: Trnopolje, Omarska, and Keraterm. In the period from 1992 to the end of the war in 1995, 30,000 residents of the non-Orthodox religion passed through these camps, and 3,176 people were killed in Prijedor, of which 102 were children. I am not a woman from Prijedor, nor do I have someone who died in Prijedor during the war, but I am a mother and I empathize with the pain of mothers who lost their children then - that's why I feel that I am every mother from Prijedor.
In October 2023, an exhibition was held on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dobrivoj Beljkašić, an artist from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who fled to Bristol in the early 1990s due to the war raging in Sarajevo and the rest of the country. The exhibition was realized in the art museum Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, where I often hang out with my peers at additional activities for us senior citizens. The museum educator who works with the museum audience organized an additional activity for us where we were guided through the exhibition "Painter of Restless Imagination, Dobrivoje Beljkašić, 1923-2023" with active participation in the discussion about the works. Through works in which the artist depicted the Sarajevo bridges, and the sacred architecture of this multi-ethnic city with a multi-layered cultural history, we talked about our upbringing in pre-war Sarajevo. For the creative task, we were given by the educator to illustrate the areas of the city, buildings, or people that symbolize our growing up in this city and the way in which the city, its environment, and people shaped our identity.