'Proof of Existence: An Exhibit of Work by Contemporary Artists of Bosnian and Balkan Origin' curated by Yvonne Petkus

January 22 – April 13, 2018
University Gallery, Ivan Wilson Fine Arts Center (FAC), Western Kentucky University

HAD Collective Artist Talk
(with introduction to 'Proof of Existence' exhibition by Professor Yvonne Petkus)
Wednesday, February 28, 5:30pm

Artist Aida Šehović & Filmmaker Rialda Zukić Short Film Screening/Panel Discussion
Tuesday, April 3, 6:00pm

artists represented in exhibition:
Ilhana Babić
HAD Artist Collective (Muhamed Bešlagić- Hamo, Anel Lepić, Damir Sarač)
Emira Hajdar
Danielle Mužina
Diane Ramic
Maja Ružnić
Aida Šehović
Selma Selman
Rialda Zukić

Exhibition and events were made possible with support from the WKU Department of Art, Office of International Programs, Potter College of Arts & Letters Office of the Dean, the Kentucky Museum, the Bramham/Collins Visual and Performing Artist Endowed Fund, Information Technology, and all those who generously contributed to our WKU SpiritFunder Campaign.

Poster designed by Joon Sung:


Images from the exhibition:

Curator's Statement

 The ZSEIFS Bosnia and Herzegovina Program that led to the formation of this exhibition was an intense, beautiful, at some times difficult, and at all times supremely interesting and inspiring experience. The format, which included a semester of study across disciplines followed by in-country research and exploration, made for a rich and deep understanding from which to approach a country as complex as Bosnia and Herzegovina. This has prepared me for my current studio research, for the content and influences incorporated into my courses, and toward this exhibition of work by artists of Bosnian and Balkan origin.

 My own work explores ideas of struggle and the residues of trauma through the processing of specific imagery, content, and physical material, intended as a mechanism toward addressing the most difficult of human concerns. My stake in this line of inquiry is an interest in the capacity that art has to reflect and push society, to question the way that meaning is assigned, and to shift the way that we see. I am, ultimately, interested in the power that art has to change thought.

 Each artist represented in this exhibition uses their work and practice to further what is remembered, what is known, and what resonates or emerges. Methods include ways to make present and visible those who are absent and forgotten, the use of ritual to engage specific communities and mark not only loss, but specific loss, the connected ideas of home, diaspora, and memory, and the commitment to both history and invention.

 The artists included hold a range of experiences and histories related to the Bosnian War (1992-1995) – from those who lived through the war as children and young teens, to one being conscripted to serve in the military during the war, to those whose families had to flee their homes and relocate in order to survive, and one born to a family left stateless after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The practices exhibited come to us from artists still firmly based in Bosnia and Herzegovina and from those who now work throughout the United States – from Los Angeles to New York to right here in Bowling Green. Mindful of these experiences and backgrounds of the artists presented (those of varied ages and locations, of Bosniak origin, Roma Origin, and Croatian origin), the goal is to create a site for contemplation, understanding, and meaningful discourse.

Catalogue of exhibition available at lulu.com

includes statements by the artists and images of their work, curator's statement by Yvonne Petkus, and essays by Dr. David D. Lee, WKU Provost/Professor of History, Addie Cheney, Assistant Director, WKU Office of International Programs, and Dr. Jerry Daday, WKU Associate Professor of Sociology/Director of the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning.

Intro to 'Proof of Existence' Exhibition and HAD Artist Collective Lecture at Western Kentucky University

Introduction by Yvonne Petkus
HAD Lecture by Muhamed Bešlagić- Hamo, Anel Lepić, and Ilhana Babić
February 28, 2018

Filmed and edited by Julie Taylor with audio by audio tech Andrew Swanson:


International Visiting Artist Workshop by the HAD Artist Collective (from Visoko, Bosnia and Herzegovina)

February 26 - March 2, 2018
Over the course of four days, HAD created two five-foot tall wallcuts collaborating with students, faculty, and community members in the courtyard of the Kentucky Museum on the campus of Western Kentucky University.

HAD Artist Collective: Muhamed Bešlagić- Hamo, Anel Lepić, and Damir Sarač with collaborating photographer Ilhana Babić


Timelapse filmed and edited by Julie Taylor with additional set-up and assistance by Andrew Swanson:

Unveiling of the HAD Artist Collective's finished works – March 2, 2018 in the courtyard of the Kentucky Museum:


'Proof of Existence', a film by the HAD Artist Collective
post visit to WKU

Filmed by Ilhana Babić
Audio: Što te nema played by Nehad Hrustanbegović
HAD Artist Collective: Muhamed Bešlagić- Hamo, Anel Lepić, and Damir Sarač


Ritual – Monuments – and Artist-led/Community-driven Artwork
Workshop with Visiting Artist Aida Šehović

April 3, 2018

photos by Clinton Lewis


Visiting Artist Panel Discussion & Short Film Screening with
Artist Aida Šehović and Filmmaker Rialda Zukić

April 3, 2018
photos by Brent Björkman

and the child draws another inscrutable house

Visiting Artist Talk by Danielle Mužina

October 3, 2018