Help bring the world to WKU!
Your support will help us bring the HAD Artist Collective – three artists from Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina – to WKU to share their work and experiences with students and the Bowling Green community (through everything from individual critiques with students to public discussions and a public workshop). Contributions will help cover lodging, international airfare, and visas for three.
The HAD Artist Collective is:
architect Muhamed Bešlagić- Hamo, fine artist Anel Lepić, and street artist/painter Damir Sarač.
They lived through the Bosnian War as boys and felt driven to come together in 2015 to collaborate on work that “gives voice to the forgotten.” Cutting directly into walls with chainsaws and chisels, making marks with fire, smoke, and improvised paint – they use abandoned buildings and walls as a large scale sketchbook. The resulting work is unexpected, unconventional, and incredibly powerful.
(click on video above for a message from HAD)
HAD’s March 2018 visit will accompany an exhibition being curated for the WKU University Gallery titled Proof of Existence: An Exhibit of Work by Contemporary Artists of Bosnian and Balkan Origin – an exhibit of 10 artists (including HAD), on display January 22 through April 6, 2018.
The WKU Connection:
I met with HAD in Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina this past May and found their work to be raw and powerfully moving. They use intensely physical methods and found materials, including leather dye produced in Visoko, to create detailed and moving portraits in spaces left empty by the war. One such location is a factory building a short walk from the town center, a building that once processed grains, the flour that is so important in Bosnian culture.
“The focus is on the forgotten – abandoned buildings for abandoned people.” Their goal is to provide a space for reflection – through unexpected, poetically evocative means.
Deep and thoughtful throughout our time together, that afternoon we stood in front of a long outdoor wall piece the HAD Collective created to memorialize those lost in the Srebrenica Genocide and those that live with that loss. With evidence of bullet holes still pierced in the building above, the piece, titled Silence, faces the river in downtown Visoko and depicts a series of portraits of people from Srebrenica.
When asked about the title, HAD artist Anel Lepić replied that “when war, when genocide, happens, there is a lot of attention, a lot of press. But then everyone leaves and those affected are left with a deep silence, they try to go to sleep and are faced by that silence. These portraits, while viewed by passers-by during the day, at night are left looking out at the river – looking out in their silence.”
Through this acknowledgement of the past, to not let it be forgotten but rather built upon with full awareness, these three artists are also laying an energetic groundwork for the future. As stated by freelance writer and photographer Ilhana Babić for HUFFPOST, “With every blow of the hammer into the wall, a piece of the past is removed to reveal the future. This art, through struggle, epitomizes the cultural and political landscape that these works come from…”
The artists of the HAD Collective have a way of seeing things that is poetic, generous, and deep. We look forward to sharing their ways of seeing with WKU and the larger Bowling Green community.
Your donation will make the HAD Collective’s visit a reality!
Hvala na vašoj podršci! (Thank you for your support!)
Yvonne Petkus, Professor and Artist
Department of Art, WKU
Follow Us on Facebook: WKU Department of Art News
or Instagram: wkuart
Please enjoy the following videos and images of HAD’s works:
Video of the making of Missing. Created using fire, smoke, and paint on the floor of one of the many grain tanks throughout the building, it is viewed from the opening of this storage room, a story above. (filmed by Ilhana Babić and HAD, post-production by Ilhana Babić and Anel Lepić)
HAD’s facebook page
“HAD Collective: Silence Stirs Memories of War in Bosnian Town” HUFFPOST article on memorial wall created by the HAD Collective in Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, written by Jaime Rojo and Steven Harrington: https://www.huffingtonpost.com…
For a brief history of Bosnia and Herzegovina watch the following video:
BOSNIA 101, a lecture by Dr. Jerry Daday, Associate Professor of Sociology