bosnian art

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Bosnian folk music

Mehmeda majka budila
Merima Ključo - Accordion, Vocals
Amira Medunjanin - Vocals

“Sometimes songs are written as metaphors for difficult truths that cannot be spoken of openly. The deepest layers of meaning in this traditional song have been buried by unconscious repetition through the years, generation after generation. This apparently innocent lullaby speaks of a mother waking up her adult son with coffee and sweets. The son describes to his mother the disturbing dream he has had: “My sister blindfolded me, my father bound my hands and you my mother, were removing my heart.” In this powerful arrangement, Ključo brings the underlying menace to the surface. The song portrays the love and care of parents towards their children, love that is good and unconditional, but which often has another side to it. When there is no balance it becomes overpowering and manipulative in its illusion of understanding. As the sweetness of the original melody gently flows, a darker reality takes over.”

This makes me feel like I am inside the nightmare, but it’s exceptionally beautiful at the same time. 

The Broken Hearts of Srebrenica 

Mak Hubjer, a student from the Fine Arts department of the University of Sarajevo poses in front of his painting which is to be hung in the Potočari Memorial Centre for genocide victims in Srebrenica. He wanted to be photographed blindfolded and commented that his painting is his personal form of protest.

11 July, 2014

Interior, woman reading. Atanasije Popovic (Bosnian, 1885-1948).

In addition to religious themes, he painted portraits, and Herzegovina, Dalmatian and Bosnian landscapes and still lifes. The earliest works reveal the influence of the Viennese academicism. In later years he adopted the methods of the Impressionists.

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Pencil Art 

Bosnian artist Jasenko Đorđević (aka toldart) creates amazing sculptures on the tips of pencils. Jasenko’s small works of art, depict subjects like flowers, animals, and portraits, all of which have to be magnified to fully appreciate the minute details.


“We called sniper alley the alley of wolves. We were young and boys and had nicknames for everything, first of all the girls. There was the Nanny, the Epilogue, and the Soulcrusher. We thought these nicknames very clever, breathless with truth. We were thirteen and easily excited. To be killed by a sniper meant to be deathwinked, a verb. I came up with that. I had a minimum understanding of poetry, a maximum amount of fear.”


From “Deathwinked” by Vedran Husić, recommended by Fine Arts Work Center.


Read it for free tomorrow in Electric Literature’s weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading.


Cover photograph by Suzanna Clarke.