Back in September of last year, I traveled (with Mrs. Perez) to Bosnia and Herzegovina and stayed in the charming city of Sarajevo (check out the video HERE). Now, as an art lover, whenever I travel, I’m always looking for the nearest art museum. Whether it’s the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the National Museum of Art of Romania in Bucharest, the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City or the Norton Museum of Art right here in South Florida – if I’m visiting a city, I’m looking for an art museum (and I’m bringing my camera with me).
So on our last day in Sarajevo (a rainy one), we found a few hours to visit the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Umjetnička galerija BiH) which was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel in Old Town. The gallery opened in 1946 and over the years has collected pieces from the Communist Yugoslavian era, as well as post-civil war contemporary pieces. However, like many of Sarajevo’s museums and galleries, it has struggled with funding since the civil war and relies solely on donations, sponsors and a small entry fee (5 KM, about $2.80).
It’s a modest sized museum and to be honest, I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot from it but on this particular day, there was an excellent exhibit called Ženskom rukom (“By Woman’s Hand”) which featured contributions of women painters and sculptors from Bosnia and Herzegovina. I also found their permanent collection of art to be quite interesting as well. Let’s just say I got my 5 KM worth and a whole lot more. And as for why I’m posting these photographs four months after my trip, I had been waiting for the gallery’s updated website to go live. The struggle to get funding had stalled the process considerably but an updated site has just gone live. Check it out > www.ugbih.ba. Oh, and you can support the gallery HERE.
So if you happen to find yourself in beautiful Sarajevo (and you love art), spend a few hours at this little gem of an art gallery – you won’t be sorry. Now, enjoy the photographs from the collection of the National Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, taken with the gallery’s full permission (thanks to the gallery’s curator Ana Đikoli)
Entrance to the Gallery…
“Young Man” by Iva Despić Simonovic, the first female sculptor in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Born in Zagreb in 1890 to a wealthy family, she became a highly requested sculptor in a time (between the two World Wars) where most women were uneducated and relegated to taking care of the home. She died in 1961.
“Muslim Woman” by Iva Despić Simonovic
“Girl” by Serbian painter Milena Šotra (1909-2003)
Mrs. Perez admires “Bosnian Girl” by Mica Todorović, who is considered “the first lady of Bosnian and Herzegovinian painting ”. Todorović (1900–1981) attended art school and academy in Zagreb as the only woman in her class. In 1954 she had her first solo exhibition in Belgrade. This painting was probably my favorite.
“Bato is Playing” by Iva Despić Simonovi
“Reposing Nude” by Rajka Merćep (1904-1961), a Bosnian-Herzegovinian sculptor and ceramist
“Portrait of an Old Man” by Adela Ber Vukić (1888-1966), the first female artist from Bosnia and Herzegovina to be educated at an art school and a pioneer of women’s rights in her country. Ber organized her first solo art exhibit in Sarajevo after the First World War in 1919.
Up the stairs to the permanent exhibits…
We had the place pretty much to ourselves…
“Traces of War” by Edin Numankadić, a sobering reminder of the Siege of Sarajevo during the mid-90s. Numankadić, who was born in 1948, is one of the most important Bosnian visual artists from the beginning of the seventies. He is currently director of the Olympic Museum in Sarajevo and one of the founders of the collection of Ars Aevi (Museum of Contemporary Art in Sarajevo) and its permanent consultant.
“Interior” by Ljubiša Naumović
“Nude in the Studio” by Nedeljko Gvozdenović (1902–1988), a world renowned Serbian painter
“Self-portrait” by eclectic Croatian painter Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922)
“Landscape from Maglaj” by Bosnian graphic artist Salim Obralić
[Banner image at top: “Little Girl” by Mica Todorović]
So, there you have it – a taste of art from Bosnian and Herzegovina. This gallery was a most pleasant surprise and well worth a couple of hours should you ever find yourself in Sarajevo; and you really should find yourself there one day…