The Marking of ‘Night of Museums’ in Sarajevo Will Highlight the Plight of BiH Cultural Institutions

nocmuzejaprogramplakatBy: Medina Malagić

‘’The Night of Museums’’ and the marking of the International Day of Museums is scheduled to take place today at various BiH cultural institutions throughout Sarajevo, and includes numerous exhibitions free to the public, performances, concerts and workshops.

It is an event that is made possible under the organization of Association of Artists Bellarte with close collaboration of other cultural and artistic institutions in BiH.

Museums and galleries will organize more than just exhibitions. There will be concerts and other events that will take place throughout the day and in the evening.

Nadža Pusilo, President of the Association of Artists Bellarte spoke of the goals of the events that will take place in Sarajevo today. ”It is in this way that our Association of Artists is gathering and taking the initiative with all profiles of artists and cooperation with other cultural institutions that we are addressing all these issues together. We do not only want to create a polemic, but also to achieve something’’.

In galleries and museums throughout Sarajevo, this manifestation will include a roundtable discussion beginning at 12:00 and open to the public to mark the beginning of the International Day of Museums. The roundtable will be held at the Bosniak Institute entitled “Sumrak Institucija Kulture u BiH-Krtisicki Osvrt Na Stanje Kulture I Kulturnih Institucija u BiH”.

Mr. Sc. Samra Korićić, the Coordinator and Moderator of the Roundtable as Part of ‘Night of Museums 2013’, highlighted that the goal of today’s roundtable is to gather people from the cultural life of this country, to share experiences, the problems and to offer potential and valuable solutions.

On Saturday at 23:30, there will be a gathering of members of BellArte, which will include performances by the band ‘Loudest Silence’ and male ensemble ‘Ramos’.

Since the closing of the National Museum of BiH in Sarajevo on 4 October 2012, numerous cultural awareness programs have sprung up to bring attention to the increasingly dire situation of BiH cultural institutions. Cultural institutions, museums and other artistic organizations have fallen victim to politicization. While the ostensible reason for the closing of the museum is budgetary, which now continues to threaten other cultural organizations, the actual contention came down to political fractures.

Thus, the “Night of Museums” and the marking of International Museum Day will have a particularly strong symbolic resonance in this country.

‘Sarajevo Times’ also had the opportunity to speak with Džemal Bijedić, who was responsible for designing the promo material for the ‘Night of Museums 2013’. He is also a member of the band ”The Loudest Silence”, which will perform tomorrow night by the National and History Museum starting at 23:30.

According to Džemal, it is the citizens who have been acutely aware of the situation regarding BiH cultural institutions and who have expressed deep concern, which was demonstrated by numerous protests. He said, and most would agree with him, that it is politicians who should be paying more attention on the consequences of their passivity. He puts it very bluntly by stating that ” For me, this is no less of a crime than the destruction of the old bridge in Mostar or book burning’’.

Samra noted that the reasons for the blatant lack of support for cultural institutions in BiH should be a question for people who are in charge of the institutions in this country that shape public policy. She tells us that “politics in this country has become more important than culture, art and education, and this negative trend is trivializing and marginalizing such important issues that must somehow be stopped”.

Nadža Pusilo concurs and said that the state system is poorly structured, incomplete and is also irresponsible, and there is a lack of will for a better tomorrow.

The International Council of Museums (ICOM) established International Museum Day in 1997, whose goal is to raise public awareness of the important role that museums play in our society. “European Night of Museums” was established by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication in 2005, and is held every year on the Saturday that is closest to International Day of Museums. This year, these two events fall on the same day.

While most countries in Europe mark this day to raise public awareness on the importance of preserving cultural institutions and the artistic scene of their respective countries, in BiH the marking of these two events is laden with deep concerns over the fate of the country’s cultural institutions and the development of artistic expression.

“In BiH, the idea of opening museums at night, in a situation when they are closed or are falling apart, is a flat fairy tale mentality and believing in miracles. I think that the poster, as well as the slogan for the event that I have made conveys that message well. In other words, this manifestation in Sarajevo has an entirely different symbolism and I honestly hope that it would again draw attention to the importance of cultural institutions and would show that there are people who not only have an interest in culture, but think that it is essential for a normal life”, said Džemal.

Mr. Sc. Samra Korićić stressed the importance of events like this one in raising awareness. “By organizing events like this, such as the Night of Museums, which includes cultural institutions and their programs, as well as artistic performances, people will little by little begin to understand how much culture and art we have in our region, and how much it is undervalued, unfortunately”.

The fear of the fate of cultural institutions and free reign for artistic expression and development is palpable. Blame is not put on citizens of BiH, who have gathered together, in order to protest the closing of cultural institutions in BiH and to express their concerns over the lack of support by institutions that are supposed to be responsible for preserving the cultural life in BiH.

According to Samra, the attack on the arts in BiH is ‘ubiquitous’, and the events that will take place today can be seen as an act of ‘rebellion’ against what she labels as an attack on all human values.

The ‘’Night of Museums’’ will be held in Sarajevo today from 12:00-24:00.

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