interviewed by Predrag Pajdic, February 2007

One of your latest works is 'Lullaby'. Could you please tell me about it?

The work is based on a tragedy that took place during the break-up of Yugoslavia, in particular in Bosnia from 1991-95. In the Northwest of Bosnia, between the Kozara national park and the river Sana is a city called Prijedor, which I visited on a number of occasions. It is an idyllic place, but it is also the hiding place for about 2000 bodies out of 3500 missing people. Many local residents witnessed executions, torture and ethnic cleansing. Today the place is desperately trying to recover from its dreadful past, hoping for some kind of peaceful coexistence between Serbs, Croats and Muslims.

During one of my visits, I found my way to the place for the identification of the victims. One skeleton took my attention, it was that of a baby, only a few months old when it was killed. I filmed while someone tried to assemble the remains. But there were many parts missing.

'Lullaby' is the work devoted to those mothers who are still looking for their missing children ten years on. It is a work about mothers searching for an inner peace, a peace with destiny. But how does someone find peace after loosing a child?

You are originally from Bosnia but now live and study in Copenhagen. How did you get there and why?

I was born in Sarajevo in 1980, the same year Tito died. Ten years later Yugoslavia fell into great economical and political troubles. Because of the multi-ethnicity in Bosnia, citizens of my country suffered the most when the war broke out. Both Croats and Serbs demanded ethnic cleansing of the areas they thought belonged to them. That led to unspeakable crimes and massacres all over the place.

During the war Sarajevo was in many ways like a concentration camp. Serbian and Croatian forces fought in the surrounding mountains day and night trying any method to get control of the city. At the time I was 11 years old. Because of the constant bombing, children like us spent most of the day in the basement. The city had no water and electricity from day one, and like so many other families, we were in a desperate situation. Some of my friends were taken along with their fleeing parents to other parts of former Yugoslavia, some stayed in the city, some got killed by snipers or bombs. After several unsuccessful attempts to escape from Sarajevo, my parents managed to put me on a bus to Belgrade. I waited half a year for my mother and brother to follow. They eventually got on the very last refuge bus from Sarajevo.

At that time Denmark and Sweden were the only countries that had open borders for the Bosnian refugees and my mother decided to go to Denmark. There we spent the next four years in different refugee camps, which at that time were everything from ships to abandoned office buildings, schools and hospitals.
Six years later we became Danish citizens.

Would you ever consider going back to live in Bosnia?


As I see it, the biggest problem for future generations in Bosnia is the fact that the whole country is still so roughly, violently divided by the nationalist parties. Because of this 'divided state' it is very hard for the new young wave of free-thinking people to find the energy and in a positive, constructive way to take their destiny into their own hands. It will take time.    

The thought of living there has crossed my mind on several occasions. Every time I go back I feel that Bosnia is a part of me. It is hard not to fall in love with its beautiful nature even if you are not from there. Bosnia together with all the other former Yugoslav republics will always have a place in my heart despite the dramatic consequences of war. But the war and the period of fifteen years being away have left their legacy. Sarajevo is not the city that it was before the war, and I have been away too long to consider it my home. I see Denmark as my home just because my mother and brother still live here.