Remembering Srebrenica: Genocide Survivors Invited to Tell Their Story Through Art

Survivors of the Bosnian genocide and ethnic cleansing are being welcomed to submit artwork of any medium to Remembering Srebrenica to help commemorate refugee displacement and show how victims of the 90’s aggression have rebuilt their lives. 

UK-based charityRemembering Srebrenicais reopening their virtual exhibition ‘Remnants of Genocide’ for Memorial Week 2021, and are calling for people to submit their visual art, poetry, photographs or other creative works on the topic of genocide, refugee displacement and their theme ‘Rebuilding Lives’.

The first ever ‘Remnants of Genocide’ exhibtion was launched last year to mark 25 years since the Srebrenica massacre. 

The British organisationis encouraging people from around the globe to submit any creative artefact which tells a story relating to this year’s ‘Rebuilding Lives’ theme, or that explores an individual’s personal experience in relation to the Bosnian genocide.

Retired Anatomical Pathology Technologist who provided physical and scientific evidence of genocide in Bosnia, Robert McNeil MBE, and whose artwork was featured in last year’s memorial exhibition, believes artistic expression not only comforts, but articulates and heals trauma. 

“Art as well as being therapeutic, can be a positive way of explaining and recovering from traumatic experiences,” Mr McNeil said.

Artwork by Robert McNeil, a former Anatomical Pathology Technician who started painting as a means to deal with PTSD following his forensic work in mass graves in Europe and Africa.

According to Remembering Srebrenica, the ‘Rebuilding Lives’ theme seeks to pay homage to the two million Bosnians displaced during the 1990’s conflict, which caused them to become refugees across the world. 

“[The theme] will aim to shed light on their stories showing how they have rebuilt their lives by dealing, on the one hand, with the trauma of losing loved ones and their livelihood, as well as overcoming pain and suffering on a level which is very hard for others to comprehend.

“While on the other [hand], living with the reality that the genocide continues to this day as the perpetrators have not been held to account and are able to walk free, and denial of the genocide and glorification of the architects of the worst atrocity on European soil since the second world war continues to be rife at individual, community and institutional levels,” Remembering Srebrenica states on their website. 

The charity is hopeful that by “shining a light on the way in which survivors have rebuilt their lives…the theme will not only serve as a powerful antidote to combating the negative attitudes and perceptions that surround refugees, but also allow us to learn from the stories of those who have shown enormous resilience to rebuilding their lives.”

Submissions for the exhibition close on May 1 for the chance to have work featured in the annual Memorial Week commemorations.

Written by Miya Yamanouchi for the Sarajevo Times

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