Support bringing Visiting Artists to WKU and BG from Bosnia-Herzegovina


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.

Hamo, Anel, and Damir stand in front of ‘Yesterday. Today! Tomorrow?’, a piece created as part of the Walls of the World Campaign by the organization Art For All in the World: http://www.artforallintheworld… (photo by James Kenney)  

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.

Grain building in Visoko, BiH. At Center, ‘The Passenger’, is the first piece produced by the HAD Collective. (photo by Yvonne Petkus)

“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.

Detail of ‘Silence’, a memorial wall by HAD in downtown Visoko. (photo by James Kenney)

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…”

HAD on the roof of grain factory in front of their work. (photo by James Kenney)

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

Student Testimonials: 

Please enjoy the following videos and images of HAD’s works:

Work by HAD on second floor of grain building in Visoko, BiH. (photo by James Kenney)

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 website…
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:…

For a brief history of Bosnia and Herzegovina watch the following video:
OSNIA 101, a lecture by Dr. Jerry Daday, Associate Professor of Sociology

Spread the word!

  • Chalmers "In Memory of Kim Chalmers, art department 1999-2010."
  • Kara "Good luck!"
  • Darlene "Excited to learn more about these amazing artists and to see their work!"
  • Metra Mitchell "Proud graduate of WKU Painting Program! So glad to help participate in an amazing project through a small donation. If I can make it to BG in March for a part of the event!! "
  • HT "Good luck!!"
  • Katerina "Looking forward to meeting the HAD Collective!"
  • Tori "What an exciting opportunity!"
  • Brent Oglesbee "Just HAD to contribute!!"
  • JAS "Thanks for all of the reminders."
  • Yvonne "Thank you all for your support! Looking forward to sharing the work and experiences of these incredible artists with WKU and Bowling Green!"
  • Donna "So looking forward to seeing and hearing more about the amazing HAD Collective artwork. This is a wonderful opportunity for the WKU and Bowling Green communities to experience the art and culture of Bosnia-Herzegovina."
  • Liz "Looking forward to this! "
  • Natalie Tyree "Excited to be a part of this! I love being a part of a department that fosters diversity and creativity. "
  • Happy to support the arts and our granddaughter ""
  • Kate "This is some of the most amazing artwork I've ever seen--we need to bring it to our students and community!"
  • Brent and Ann "Please help bring these artists and their powerful talents to WKU! "
There are no updates at this time.

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Fired up to see HAD here in Bowling Green!