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Using Culture To Oppose Fear

Fear has accumulated all around us and we are haunted by questions about how we will live tomorrow. Good art provides us with the possibility of making positive interpretations and defining strengths for us to make better decisions

We need the language of art today more than ever. During this time of incomprehensibly swift change, accumulated problems, wars and tensions, which are never ending in our neighbourhood, art is one of the few havens of hope for the future.

Art has become one of the few mediators enabling the transformation of society, which mostly stands on positions of national barricades. The integration of art into our lives is essential, as is its power to connect different communities and expose the numerous cruel blunders that we make today.

Fear has accumulated all around us. How will we live tomorrow? Where and how we will grasp a daily grain of salvation? It is precisely art that provides us with the possibility to interpret contrasting views by shedding light on real problems from different perspectives. It critically defines the current moment and, provided it is good art, gives the possibility to positively interpret and define strengths for us to make better decisions.

Our societies and communities need art. We would not have the possibility to become better people without it

Connecting participants in the domain of art around the region is essential. Only a true platform, comprising actual contributors in the field of art, can create the prerequisites for junctures of action that are not based only on the theoretical level, but rather provide the strength of concrete decisions leading to their embodiment. Perhaps the politicians of today don’t want people who think, who desire progress, who want to be connected by art and persuaded by it to strive for the betterment of society. The easiest people to lead are those who don’t have a stance of their own. Such thinking leads to fatal consequences that are difficult to alter, making it difficult to create preconditions for a better tomorrow.

Ars Aevi’s most evident contribution lies in both re-examining and documenting the past, while also actively shaping the future.

The re-examination of the past is addressed through interpretive policies and curatorial practices rooted in the artworks included in our collection, featuring pieces by artists such as Nebojša Šerić Šoba, Šejla Kamerić, Nora Aslan, Braco Dimitrijević and Marina Abramović. With over 150 artworks in the Ars Aevi collection, there’s ample potential to discuss multifaceted historical narratives.

Despite successful collaboration within the art scene, active reconciliation is hindered by toxic influences from populist political agendas, intertwined with nationalist ideals

Concurrently, our institutional efforts towards shaping the future are exemplified by our commitment to completing the construction of the museum building designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop, architect Renzo Piano and his partners in charge, Emanuela Bagiletto and Philippe Goubet. This building serves not only as a home for the collection, but also stands as a model showcasing the potential of contemporary architecture. It emphasises aspects such as reducing CO2 emissions, promoting green architecture and contributing to urban planning in the city of Sarajevo by showing the potential to transform public spaces into vibrant cultural landscapes, even a cultural district [Ugljen-Ademović, N., & Ibrišimbegović, S. (2023, May). An imaginary museum quarter: towards cultural and urban renewal. In Sarajevo Singular Plural (pp. 295-306). Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG].

However, despite the success and robust collaboration within the art scene, toxic influences exist from populist political agendas that are deeply intertwined with nationalist ideals that hinder active reconciliation. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Dayton structure, based on ethno-national dominance, significantly impacts various aspects, including procedures for participating in international events like the Venice Biennale. Here, the focus of election commissioners often shifts from assessing the quality of artwork to prioritising the concept of “national” representation, influenced by the prevailing ethno- national framework.

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