The first-ever virtual exhibition using the testimony and artefacts from Bosnian Genocide survivors is being unveiled next week as part of the 25th-anniversary commemorations.
Bosnians and Herzegovinian’s across the world submitted their stories, pictures and personal items to create a unique virtual exhibition called Remnants of Genocide created by UK charity Remembering Srebrenica.
The exhibition is one of the highlights of Srebrenica Memorial Week, 5th – 12th July 2020, which the charity had to radically alter after more than 2,000 community action events were cancelled due to coronavirus.
Remembering Srebrenica operations manager Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura, along with Events Manager Amra Mujkanović, have curated the ‘Remnants of Genocide’ exhibition which has more than 45 stories, paintings, photographs and items relating to the war, genocide and its aftermath.
She said: “We wanted the tell the story of the Bosnian Genocide using survivors experiences creatively instead of forcing them to unload their trauma in a distressing way.
“25 years ago the worst atrocity on European soil since World War Two occurred and it happened in our lifetime but there is a shocking lack of discussion about the genocide.
“This exhibition has first-hand testimony which shows the horror of genocide but more importantly the stories are personalised, they show these victims were humans with lives ahead of them, with hopes and dreams and are not just numbers and statistics of people killed.”
She added: “This is the first time a virtual exhibition has been done with genocide survivors but it has been a healing process through art.
“The most difficult part has been reading really traumatic experiences and coming to terms with the horror which happened in our lifetime, however, allowing survivors the platform to share has been very rewarding.”
She added: “We had submissions from across the world including the United Kingdom, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United States of America, Austria and even the United Arab Emirates and there were so many we could not include them all.
“However, the beauty of this being virtual is that we can add more items and stories as the years go by, it will be a permanent exhibition which will also act as a learning resource for people across the world.”
Items in the exhibition include poetry, paintings, stories – including a teddy bear which helped give a child experiencing trauma a small shard of normality during the war.
The exhibition also includes new paintings by internationally renowned and UNESCO RILA Affiliate artists Robert McNeil MBE and Iain Campbell who have worked closely with Remembering Srebrenica for several years.
Munira Subašić, survivor and President of the Mothers of the Srebrenica and Žepa Enclaves, explained the importance of the Srebrenica Virtual Exhibition for ensuring the genocide is never forgotten or repeated.
She said: “The 25th anniversary is a painful reminder that we have to do everything in our power to make sure that the genocide is not denied and history is not repeated. This exhibition and the collection of personal stories are of imperative importance in remembering what happened.
“Personal memories and items that remind us of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be our guiding light in raising awareness about war atrocities and genocide. We owe it to ourselves to have our stories be heard.”
The vast array and variety of personal stories will help ensure the tragedies in Srebrenica, Sarajevo, Mostar, Prijedor, Foča, Višegrad and elsewhere in Bosnia will never be forgotten.
The Srebrenica Virtual Exhibition will be unveiled online at 2 pm on Monday, 6th July 2020 at www.srebrenica.org.uk/srebrenicaexhibition.