The Art of Diplomacy in Sarajevo

Posted by Sarah Tanguy
October 15, 2010
Ziyah Gafic Photographs Facade and Returnees

About the Author: Sarah Tanguy serves as a Curator for ART in EMBASSIES.

This month, Secretary Clinton officially opened the new U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, a land marked by political upheaval and resurgence. Bosnian photographer, Ziyah Gafic, captures the will to survive through his work. In Façade (above left), the remains of a family home loom defiantly against an azure sky, while in Returnees (above right), children celebrate life's simple pleasures, unaware of the burdens born by those that stayed behind during the war. Taken along the frontline between Serbs and Bosnians in the suburbs of the small eastern enclave of Goradze in July 2001, they are part of the permanent collection that brings together art by U.S. and Bosnian artists with Bosnia's social, political and cultural heritage in mind.

After earning a degree in world literature from Sarajevo University, Gafic has made a career in photography, focusing on societies in transition and conflict from Bosnia to Rwanda, and from Chechnya to Iraq. Over the past decade, he has received prestigious awards by World Press Photo, Kodak, Photo District News, and Getty Images, among others. He regularly contributes to such publications as The New York Times Magazine, L'espresso, Newsweek, The Times Magazine, Wired, and Vanity Fair, and his photo essay on the aftermath of the Bosnian war was published in Tales from a Globalizing World by Thames & Hudson. His work has been widely exhibited in Perpignan, Arles, Amsterdam, London, Milan, New York, and Geneva. Based in his native Sarajevo, Gafic is represented by VII photo agency.

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