Excerpt from the text: Modern visual art in the context of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Igor Bošnjak

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All this goes to say that an art system hardly exists in the whole of Bosnia and Herzegovina. One of the problems in terms of development, survival and the continuity of the scene for young artists is the fact that right now there is no systematically organized fund, association or project aiming at fostering, awarding, archiving or exhibiting works and concepts of young artists in an analytical and continuous way. Another problem is that there are no awards for young artists. The Zvono-award was abolished, because there was no political will to keep it going. Cultural models are useless, since there are ministries of culture on the level of entity only, and no ministry of culture on state level. Another big problem is that there are no residence programs, nor exchange programs for young artists that used to exist within former Yugoslavia. It is a big problem that projects and festivals are financed, even though it is not clear what goals they pursue and why they exist. For example, numerous projects of rather dubious “cultural” or “artistic” content are getting funding, but on the other side, projects that can be taken seriously are not being financed. The question is, why is that so? – The answer is pretty simple.

For twenty years now there has been no official document nor concept on cultural policy, neither on the level of state nor on the level of entity. There is no strategic document on cultural policy of the state. All good and serious art projects that were carried out have nothing to do with state or entities, nor with state cultural institutions, because they were all realized on the base of individual, personal, utopian or strategic actions of individuals or small groups of people who love arts, deal with arts or simply regard art as a hobby. The lion share of post-war art projects up to now were shaped and financed by NGOs, foreign ministries of culture, etc. Furthermore, there is no continuity of events. It is very rare that an event, a project, a biennale, a festival or an exhibition lasts longer than a few years. So there is hardly any conceptualization or support from the state. It is said that “the state is always behind grand art” – in Bosnia and Herzegovina there is basically some small art, because the state is rarely to be found behind serious projects. To sum up, we can conclude that Art of Bosnia and Herzegovina stays within the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Igor Bošnjak