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Keep art in Bosnia alive!

By Merima Ibrisimovic Ribic

Created 1 | Supported 2

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Ended 02/10/2023

"we really need to welcome art back to our lives, get involved!"

— Merima Ibrisimovic Ribic and
other supporters

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There is a running joke in Bosnia which reflects our socio-economic situation perfectly. Three mothers are having coffee and chatting. One of them proudly says: “My son is studying to become a doctor”. The other two mothers applaud her, and the second mother chimes in: “My son is going abroad to work as a nurse”. Now the other mothers congratulate her (because her son is getting an actual job!). The third mother says: “My son is studying to become an artist”. Immediately the other two mothers say: “Oh, I’m so sorry…” Why is this joke not funny anymore? My project, Keep art in Bosnia alive!, aims at making artists (and their mothers) proud of their art and heritage, starting with one year, during which the Bosnian society will get familiarized with our own artists who will be able to live from their work. After that, the gallery will have gained a life of its own and will be self-sustainable. Bosnia and Herzegovina is still a post-war country with unemployment rate of 41% for university educated persons. Artists reside on the margins of society, since government art institutions are either shut down, or do not promote arts due to lack of funding. I came up with the idea of opening an art gallery named ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery to promote and sell my own work, as well as that of my colleagues from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina. I have already contacted some of my colleagues and they are anxious to exhibit their work in my hometown, Tuzla. My love for visual arts has been with me since I was born, so I graduated painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. I could not find work in my area of expertise, so I turned to tattooing to make ends meet. However, painting is my true passion and I am lucky enough that my wife is a Master of Arts in Anglo-American literature and cultural studies, and she was able to do relevant research about this project, because my English is not that good. Here are some photos of my painting process What is so special about ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery? This is the first and only project of this kind so far, in terms of uniting Bosnian artists and enabling them to live from their work. My plan is to organize exhibitions, aid my colleagues in creating affordable forms of their artwork, such as art prints, art T-shirts, pillow cases, bags, mugs, etc., as seen on, and Bosnia and Herzegovina is the home of many famous painters, but the post-war generations are not able to showcase their work made with limited resources. Art supplies are scarce and expensive in Bosnia, so we make do with what we have. It is now time for art to stop being a hobby for professional artists and become a full-time job. When we join forces, that becomes a reality. With ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery, our community will be able to enjoy art, which enriches an entire culture and lifts the spirit. Bosnia and Herzegovina, during these gloomy social, economic and politically infused times, needs food for the soul more than ever. Art in Bosnia will get a new lease on life, which is a very big step in cultural development of every country. My contributors will experience and be able to enjoy Bosnian art through various perks I have designed especially for you. Furthermore, I intend to make a commercial webpage where Bosnian artists will present their work and the world will be able to see it. Where am I in this project and where do you stand? This project is so important to me, that I used money from my family budget to make the first line of products. My wife is in charge of translating my ideas into English (I have a free interpreter) and she is also helping with project management. I strongly believe that we can bring this project to fruition, since I am a professional artist and my knowledge in painting, photography, as well as curating exhibitions will be the backbone of the ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery, and my close connections with other Bosnian artists will bring their work to light. I am extremely motivated to make ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery a reality, firstly because of my own work which hangs on the walls of my home for family and friends to see, and secondly, but also this is very important, because I have worked with some of the finest Bosnian artists and it is a shame that their work cannot see the light of day. I have already found a space for ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery, the rent for which is fixed and paid on a monthly basis. My intention is to create a website where all progress regarding the art gallery, featured artists, all our work will be regularly updated. All my contributors will be able to buy art prints and other merchandise for a 20% discount price, forever. This art gallery, as much as it will be my livelihood, it will enable other artists to get paid for their art and it will raise our country’s awareness regarding importance of art in everyday life. I have prepared for you a selection of perks, derived from my personal art. All of you will be honorary residents of my wall of fame, a large framed poster with your names displayed in the gallery. Even if you are not in the position to contribute financially, please spread the word about this unique project! All the funds will be used as shown in the chart below: This will be enough to bring art in Bosnia back to life during one year, after which it will have gained a life of its own and will be self-sustainable. Any and all additional funds will be used in acquiring more art supplies, helping more artists to make art prints and other merchandise, and curating exhibitions. I will post updates here regularly and keep in touch with you, especially because some perks involve your direct input. The ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery needs to be open in April 2016, but the process must begin earlier, at the beginning of March 2016, mostly because of bureaucracy, interior design, which I will work on with my own hands (partly, anyway – I am good with whitewashing walls, and all paint jobs generally), and my father is an electrician, so he will help me with special lighting for paintings and other electrical odds and ends. As for other interior design elements, I will need some furniture, new floor tiles, but generally the design will be minimalist and the focus will be on the art itself. One of the most important things is that I have calculated all the costs, most of which are invariable, so I can predict with a great amount of certainty that these funds are exactly what I need. ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery will be a legit enterprise, so I will need to register it with the government and create a logo. I will also need some computer equipment for contacting artists, updating the website, doing some digital artwork and editing photographs of paintings and preparing them for printing. One of the greatest challenges is advertising ‘Starfish’ Art Gallery and familiarizing people in Bosnia with modern art forms, such as art prints. I will have to invest a certain sum into advertising on monthly basis, since this movement is intended to spread across the entire country during one year. With you by my side, it will happen! Please share my project, all contributions are important! Thank you!

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Created on 2023-01-21 16:30:35