Alternative narratives through free-thinking art

Art workshop

By Stefen Gvozden

Art has been a way of expressing one’s creativity since the dawn of humans. Artists always had a special place in society as the people who materialize emotions for themselves or their societies. But how do we perceive art these days? We are living in a time of widespread use of social media and rapid technological advancement that have made more diverse forms of art available to a larger spectrum of “consumers.” Art has begun to take its place as  yet another product in a neo-liberal market–sometimes even losing their true artistic value and becoming a norm or a status symbol.

Almost inevitably, art has become a political tool in the form of propaganda. The problem in BiH is that this propaganda is used in a culture of denial by mainstream media to rewrite our local history. I believe that it is necessary to rehumanize art. Experimental, alternative, and free-thinking art should be prioritized in our communities, especially here in Bosnia. This free-thinking art should be created and distributed to the public, thus countering the propaganda by being an alternative to the mainstream narrative of denial. In this way, we can use free-thinking art to express ourselves and our past: art becomes a tool for egalitarian activism and peacebuilding.

I had a great experience of working with other young people and activists from various countries on in the POP workshops that supported these kind of ideas. We lived, worked, and learned for five days, being brought together by our common viewpoints and we bonded through our passion for activism. If you think you got to like someone, wait until you part. I also got a chance to write this short poem about the memorials in one of the workshops, and it’s dear to me because it will always recall me of those days.

The memorial
Bound by distance, carved in stone
Hope was non existent
Folly of their (un)makers was
Ideology of sorts

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