Presentation of the “Breaking free” exhibition in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Let’s be a society of equal values,
and not a society of different labels!
The BREAKING FREE exhibition is inspired by the stories of children born of war and their mothers, the struggles they dealt with in silence, invisible in a society full of stigmatization and discrimination. The stigmatization is related to sexual violence in the conflict and its survivors are equally attached to children born of the war, which in Bosnia and Herzegovina contributed to a significant part to the rejection and/or abandonment of this category of children by their mothers and/or fathers, and their rights , needs and vulnerabilities have remained unrecognized and ignored by the authorities for more than 25 years. The exhibition is the project of the “Forgotten Children of War” Association, created in cooperation with the French-Syrian artist Sakher Almonem.
In addition to the fight for the equal position of women who survived wartime sexual violence, this exhibition bears witness to the stories of children who were born as a result of war-time sexual violence, children of peacekeepers and children of humanitarian workers who worked during and after the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Children born of war are often called the “hidden population”, because it has been shown that if someone from their environment knows about how their existence, they will be exposed to stigmatization and discrimination. They are still exposed to social condemnation, political and legal rejection. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, there is no legal letter that states the rights and needs of this social category.
Duration of support: August 2019 – October 2019.
In 2020, BREAKING FREE won the Jelena Šantić regional award: “Brave Steps”. The Jelena Šantić award is given as an affirmation of artistic and activist accomplishments that contain messages of peace, tolerance, understanding, and solidarity.
BREAKING FREE reinforces the idea of an equal society that respects the objective facts of war, but does not live in the past. The exhibition sends the idea of solidarity, empathy, freedom, equality and choice. Through their struggle, children born of war send a message that women who survived wartime sexual violence are not to blame for what happened to them and that their trauma must be socially and legally recognized as an act of heroism.
The exhibition was opened several times during 2019 in: the Youth Center in Tuzla and the Cultural Center in Srebrenica, while in Sarajevo it was opened in the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Bosnian Cultural Center (BKC) and the New Jewish Temple. It had its international opening in 2019, where it was opened twice in Italy, in the province of Emilia-Romagna, in the city of Reggio nell’Emillia and Oristano in Sardinia, and in 2022 in Reggio nell’Emillia (Gualtieri municipality) as part of the UBUNTU art festival. You can see more about the exhibition settings on the links below.