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Images of Bosnian Genocide Survivors’ Eyes Mounted on TTC Station Platforms in Toronto, Canada

The Institute for Research of Genocide Canada has been able to continue its fight for truth and justice about aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and about genocide against Bosniaks by educating the Canadian public through personal survival stories and academic sources. Our responsibility as victims of aggression and genocide is to talk about our experiences. It does not matter how large or small these experiences are; we are all victims

Images of survivors’ eyes are mounted on TTC station platforms projecting their testimony onto major public landmarks. A hint of their stories is told through the eyes which contain artistically subtle graphics.

In the Sightings Mural of Fadil Kulasic, an 1992 Omarska concentration camp survivor and subsequently two other detention centers (he was held for 202 days), there are silhouettes of two men in his eyes. This can relate to several things that were inflicted upon Fadil.

Fadil mentioned, e.g., that two camp’s captors, who had knew Fadil as they all were the town’s folks, were maybe somewhat lenient to him. Fadil speculated it might be due to his respectful demeanor and attitude toward them in common encounters in the same town, while these two men had been otherwise teased and mocked by majority of the other town’s folks for their physical or other appearances / shortcomings.

However, Fadil has other significant experiences / memories which are much more powerful for the symbolism behind the “silhouettes of two men in his Mural’s eyes” and he is working on his story to accompany his Sightings Mural. Furthermore, Fadil’s Mural prominently refers to his Fragments box number, 492, which is play of “April 1992″. Dundas Station in Toronto is devoted to Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Fragments & Sightings – Presented with the support of the Canadian Centre for International Justice, the works are shown in two related installations: Fragments stands as a collective monument dedicated to the estimated 600,000 Torontonians who have been affected by war crimes and other international human rights violations. Personal items belonging to survivors are displayed in a rowed queue formation. Fragments combines both mundane materials and familiar objects in ways that speak to the vulnerability of each of us, and the emotional residue attached to the things we possess. Sightings: Images of survivors’ eyes are mounted on TTC station platforms projecting their testimony onto public landmarks.

The work also speaks to the potential (and real) encounters between survivors and perpetrators which occur frequently within the GTA, including on mass transit vehicles, and conjures the dread of anticipation many survivors experience long after they settle into a new life in Toronto.

Sightings: Images of survivors’ eyes are mounted on TTC station platforms projecting their testimony onto major public landmarks.

Bosniak – Canadians are recent but active members of communities across Canada. In all provinces and territories Bosniak – Canadians are active participants in civic life with keen interest in domestic as well as foreign policy matters. They still seek message of hope and healing, and common sense approach to issues of the day speaks strongly to the experience of many Bosniaks, who not long ago came to Canada shores in search of a new beginning, while leaving behind a homeland, the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina ravaged by aggression and genocide. They need to be represented by someone who understands the issues that matter to them. This is true in the case of every-day struggles which Bosniak Canadians share today with all working families in Canada. After being subjects of war of aggression, genocide, crimes against humanity, Canada has become a new home. Bosniak – Canadians are ready to do their share of civic duty and help make Canada a better place.

In an effort to contribute to Canada’s multicultural society, the Bosniak – Canadian Community actively seeks to educate and share with Canadians the beauty of Bosniak and Bosnian and Herzgovian culture and history. The Bosniak – Canadian Community has organized numerous lectures, panel discussions and other events. In turn, our efforts have been recognized by organizations and dignitaries from both Bosnia and Herzegovina and Canada.

“Fragments”@ Nuit Blanche 2010
Art is the ultimate form of expression and for those who have suffered human rights abuses this might be the best way to convey the pain to the public. In this year’s Nuit Blanche the Bosniak Canadians had a chance to educate the Canadian public about the Serbian aggression and genocide that occurred between 1992 and 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was a new way of sharing their experiences. The installation “Fragments and Sightings” allowed survivors of aggression and war to tell their stories without revealing their identities. There were over 400 boxes with various artifacts that survivors brought with them to Canada. All these artifacts have a deep meaning and on Saturday night thousands of people came out to see the stories.

For the Bosnian community this was another step in the healing process. Not only were we able to educate people and answer their questions about the aggression and genocide, victims and survivors were able express their pain through representation. Many individuals do not speak of what they went through. Some are guilty to talk about their experiences when they know others have gone through much worse. Others just do not want to recall the horrific events that they experienced. These boxes told people’s stories without revealing the individual that suffered these horrific events. Here is an idea of the exhibit.