Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
|Education||Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|EU/Other, 2000; Basics, 2001; Bosnian Girl, 2003; Sorrow, 2005; 30 Years After, 2006; What Do I Know, 2007; Gluck, 2010; 1395 Days Without Red, 2011; Ab uno disce omnes, 2015; Embarazada, 2015; Thursday, 2015; Keep Away From Fire, 2018; We Come With a Bow, 2019; Behind The Scenes I, 2019; Behind The Scenes II, 2019|
|Awards||DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program Fellowship, 2007; The ECF Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity, 201.|
Šejla Kamerić is a Bosnian visual artist. She received widespread acclaim for her poignant intimacy and social commentary. The weight of her themes stands in powerful contrast to her particular aesthetic and choice of delicate materials.
Šejla Kamerić was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. As a child she lived in Dubai where her father was working for several years as a volleyball coach. Her family returned to Sarajevo in the wake of Yugoslav wars. When the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina started Šejla Kamerić was just 16 years old with a successful career as a model for local and international fashion magazines and brands. She continued her modeling career during the early years of war. During the Siege of Sarajevo, she graduated from the High School for Applied Arts and enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo, graduating from the Graphic Design department after the war. Between 1994 and 1997, she worked with the design group Trio, group of young artists who (amongst other outstanding projects) designed a series of postcards Greetings from Sarajevo (1993) in order to draw international attention to the atrocious situation in the besieged Sarajevo. In 1997, she started to exhibit regularly in Sarajevo and internationally. During this period and until 2000, she was the art director of the advertising agency Fabrika. Since 2003 she was a member of the European Cultural Parliament. She was awarded with DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program Fellowship in 2007 and continued to live and work in Berlin as a freelance artist. In 2011, Kamerić received The ECF Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity. Today she lives and works between Sarajevo and Berlin.
Šejla Kamerić works with various media such as film, photography, objects or drawings. The all-pervading element in her work are her – often uneasy – memories. She is using them as a power source by sharpening the focus of the present through the burden past. Based on her own experiences, memories and dreams, her work takes us to glocal spaces of displacement and discrimination, insisting that the delicate and the sublime are not pushed aside by catastrophe or hardship. Rather, they exist simultaneously, revealing a complex, psychogeographic landscape and the tenacity of the human spirit. The sadness and beauty, the hope and pain that emerge are part of the stories we share.
Dunja Blažević in the catalogue of the exhibition “In the Gorges of the Balkans”, Fridericianum Museum, Kassel, Germany, 2003 wrote:
"What makes Šejla and the entire group of “war generation” artists essentially different from other members of their generation is the meaning inherent in their works, as opposed to the materials they use. Furthermore, in pursuing her work without worrying about what art really is or isn’t, she proves herself a member of that generation born in the age of mass-media, in which the main references are the media and the reality around them, and not the history of art."
In 1997, Kamerić exhibited her work for the first time at the annual exhibition organized by SCCA - Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Art and curated by its director and renown art historian Dunja Blažević. In the following years, Kamerić worked closely with Blažević and continued to collaborate with SCCA. In this period Kamerić started to exhibit internationally. In 2000, she was invited to Manifesta III (entitled Borderline Syndrom) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. For this occasion, she made the installation EU/Others which received international acclaim and later became part of the TATE Modern collection.
Since then Kamerić has done numerous installations and interventions in public space: Closing The Border (2002); Bosnian Girl (2003); Pink Line vs. Green Line (2006); Ab uno disce omnes (2015), BFF (2015); SUMMERISNOTOVER (2014–2020).
Kamerić’s works have been on view in solo exhibitions at prestige art institutions such as Portkus in Frankfurt am Maine (2004); Galerie im Taxispalais in Innsbruck (2008); mumok in Vienna, Röda Sten Centre for Contemporary Art and Culture in Gothenburg, Wip: Konsthall in Stockholm and Centre Pompidou in Paris (2010); Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Camera Austria in Graz, ArtAngel in London and MACBA, Barcelona (2011); MG+MSUM - Museum of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Kunsthaus Graz, Sharjah Art foundation - Sharjah Art Museum and CAC Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius (2012).
2015 was marked by two extensive solo exhibitions, at ARTER Space for Art, Istanbul and the National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina. In the same year, Kamerić’s highly ambitious project Ab uno disce omnes, commissioned by Wellcome Collection, was shown in London as part of the exhibition Forensics: The anatomy of crime.
Her first short film What Do I Know premiered in the Corto Cortissimo section of the Venice International Film Festival in 2007 and has been screened since in more than 40 international film festivals. The film was awarded with Best Short Film at the 5th Zagreb Film Festival in 2007 and Best Fiction Film at International Adana Film Festival in 2008. A collaborative film project 1395 Days Without Red, done with Anri Sala and Ari Benjamin Meyers and produced by ArtAngel premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2011. In the same year the film has been screened at the 17th Sarajevo Film Festival; MACBA, Barcelona and MSU - Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. In 2015, Kamerić collaborated with Thai film director Anocha Suwichakornpong on a short film Thursday which premiered at the 44th International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015.
Kamerić has participated in numerous group exhibitions: The Real, The Desperate, The Absolute, Forum Stadtpark, Steirischer Herbst Festival, Graz, (2001); One Hundred Years of Contemporary Art of Bosnia and Herzegovina, National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo (2001); Prague Biennale; The Gorges of the Balkans, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel (2003); Passage d'Europe, Musée d'Art Moderne, Saint-Etienne (2004); Taboo / Tirana Biennale (2005); 15th Biennale of Sydney (2006); Tales of Time and Space, 1st Folkestone Triennial, Folkestone, (2008); Baltic Biennial of Contemporary Art, Szczecinie (2009); Gender Check: Femininity and Masculinity in the Art of Eastern Europe, mumok in Vienna and Zachęta National Gallery of Art, Warszaw (2010); Gwangju Biennale (2012); Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2013); Hannah Ryggen Triennale, National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Trondheim (2016); The Restless Earth, Nicola Trussardi Foundation and La Triennale di Milano (2017); The Warmth of Other Suns: Stories of Global Displacement, The Phillips Collection in partnership with the New museum, Washington, D.C.; 2nd Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, Coventry; 4th Berliner Herbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin (2019).
1395 Days without Red was conceived, developed and filmed as a collaborative film project by Šejla Kamerić and Anri Sala in collaboration with Ari Benjamin Meyers and produced by ArtAngel, London and SCCA/Pro.ba, Sarajevo. Šejla Kamerić’s film draws on the experience of the siege of Sarajevo and the trauma of the besieged citizens as they made their way through the city. The title refers to the common anecdotal notion during the siege that Sarajevians should not wear bright colours that could attract the snipers’ attention. The woman, played by Spanish actress Maribel Verdu, is reliving the experience of the trauma of the siege. It is her individual journey in the collective memory of the city. Throughout the siege, the Sarajevo Symphony Orchestra continued to play. In the film, the orchestra rehearses Tchaikovsky’s 6th symphony, the Pathetique. The musicians stop and start, repeating different sections of the symphony, just as the woman stops and starts in the city. Hearing the music in her head, she finds the courage to carry on.
Šejla Kamerić's works have been included in numerous collection worldwide, such as TATE Modern, London; Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris; MACBA – Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen , Rotterdam; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation, Vienna; Art Collection Telekom, Bonn; Vehbi Koç Foundation Contemporary Art Collection (2007+), Istanbul and others.