January Majlis: Artistic Activism and the Politics of Erasure in the Western Balkans

January Majlis: Artistic Activism and the Politics of Erasure in the Western Balkans
Omarska Camp- 20 year Commemoration, The Advocacy Project (Claire Noonan) Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

This paper examines how contemporary artists from the Western Balkans have sought to engage with the legacy of ethnonationalist violence. Specific focus is placed upon the ways in which war crimes committed in the countries of the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s have been interpreted in contemporary artistic production in this region. Attempts to examine and openly discuss these crimes have often been undermined by a politics of erasure, by which inconvenient historical episodes are eliminated from public discourse. In response, however, the domain of art has become a critical channel for making visible and archiving a multifaceted account of the recent past. This phenomenon will be examined through a case study of the Four Faces of Omarska art collective, and an exploration of the concept of ‘emergency aesthetics,’ which has emerged as a strategy for countering the political neutralisation of urgent issues. By bringing the experience of the Western Balkans into focus, this investigation will also contribute to the debate on the role of artistic activism in promoting human rights and justice.

Dr Iva Glisic Bio
Iva Glisic is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Australian National University. She trained as an art historian and historian specialising in modern Russia, Italy and the Balkans. Glisic’s work explores the history of radical ideas and the relationship between art and politics, with a particular focus on historical and contemporary forms of artistic activism. She also writes on memory politics, historiography and archival theory. Glisic is the author of The Futurist Files: Avant-Garde, Politics, and Ideology in Russia, 1905-1930 (Northern Illinois University Press, 2018).

Date & time

Thu 20 Jan 2022, 11am


Online via Zoom


Dr Iva Glisic, Visiting Research Fellow, ANU

Event series


The Majlis Team


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