MY TEACHING MOBILITY IN SARAJEVO: Svetlana Volic, Faculty of Fine Arts

12. јануара 2023

Svetlana Volic
University of Arts in Belgrade, Faculty of Fine Arts

Erasmus+ Mobility for Teaching at:

University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

From December 5th till December 9th 2022 I had a wonderful opportunity to teach at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. On the first day of my mobility, I had an introductory meeting with the Dean of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo prof. Dubravka Pozderac, Vice-Dean for International Relations prof. Srđa Hrisafović and Erasmus coordinator Nađa Softić. The creative consultations with colleagues continued throughout the week and were exceptionally meaningful for me as I recently took on the role of Vice-Dean for International Relations at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. We talked about the possibilities for enriching the cooperation between our two institutions. Also, we shared our experiences of international cooperation in general, sharing significant information and contacts. I also had a very informative meeting with at the University of Sarajevo with Jasna Bošnjović, Head of the International Cooperation Service and Erasmus+ Institutional Coordinator.

My teaching program at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo was conceived as a synthesis of theory and artistic research, it included Lectures and Workshops with students on the topic: “Art in public space”. The Lecture has introduced students to the process of working with public space as a partner and the potential this type of dialogue provides for artistic expression. In the wide range that this term implies, we have explored topics such as Sculptures and Installations in public space, Murals, Video projections and Projection Mapping in public space, Land-art, Memorial architecture/sculpture, Graffiti art, Psychogeography, Site-specific art, and Participatory art. The lecture was opened to students from all departments and study levels of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. In preparation for the workshop, I have walked through the city carefully observing how the multicultural population influenced Sarajevo’s architecture and cultural heritage, and how historical circumstances shaped the public space (Baščarčija neighborhood constructed in traditional Ottoman style;  Austria-Hungarian architecture in neo-Romanesque, neo-Gothic, neo-Renaissance, neo-Baroque, pseudo-Moorish and Art Nouveau styles; Modernism; Post-Socialist Transition and Neoliberal Urban Transformation of the City). Workshop on Wednesday and Thursday attended by 15 students from Product Design, Graphic and Teaching Department. The workshop gave students the opportunity for artistic research of chosen public spots in Sarajevo guiding them toward creative thinking and reactions in dialogue with the space (exploring: 1. genius loci, history and memory of the selected sites; 2. current state of chosen sites; 3. needs and desires of the citizens in the realm of public space; 4. current distribution of political power or profit interests). The workshop was also a specific introduction to the project in public space that Professor Srđa Hrisafović will implement with the students from the Department of Product Design within his course in the spring semester.

During my stay in Sarajevo, I visited two exhibitions in the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina: the permanent exhibition “Gallery of Enthusiasm” with a significant collection of paintings from the Balkan region (depicted landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, local costumes and customs) and exhibition “Origins” (Ishodišta), an exhibition of the artworks of the first four generations of professors and associates of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. Among the founders was prof. Radenko Mišević, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade (1964-1985) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo (1972-1985). The content of the exhibition confirmed the strong cultural relations and connections between our two institutions. In National Gallery I met the artist Armin Ćosić, who introduced me to his work in progress “Weed”. An installation on the facade of the National Gallery in a form of the black textile weed is expanding every day, seeking to create a metaphorical image of the parasite that invades the building. With his work, Armin indicates the problem of non-financing of the institution, the negligence of the authorities which endangers the collection. Last day of mobility, research of Sarajevo public spaces continued: friend and colleague Renata Papišta (professor at Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo) guided me and Stefan Tasić (professor at Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade) through various city landmarks: The Yellow Fortress (Žuta Tabija), Jajce Barracks (devastated military complex), The Old Orthodox Church, the Olympic Museum, etc.  All these activities have expanded my knowledge and initiated new processes of thinking about cultural heritage, cultural institutions and public space.

My teaching experience at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo gave me an opportunity to test and enrich my teaching skills. I have established new and strengthened already existing professional links with colleagues at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, which will influence the further development of our interinstitutional collaborations.

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