Call to resolve the status of the Umjetnička galerija bih and other museums in Sarajevo
The Members of the Board of CIMAM – International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art – which happens to conclude this year’s annual conference in Sarajevo in November, would like to call on all those who care about the future of Sarajevo’s cultural institutions to join us in this appeal to help preserve the city’s cultural heritage, which is not only Bosnian but also European and, by extension, global.
Honourable Minister Salmir Kaplan and other Authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina,
The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended in 1995 with the Dayton Peace Agreement, which determined the subsequent political functioning of the state. One of the purposes of the agreement was to ensure the establishment of relationships between the state, other political structures, and the Bosnian cultural and art institutions as soon as possible. However, to date, these relationships have not been instituted.
One of the consequences of this state of affairs has been the recent closure of the Umjetnièka galerija BiH / Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the most important museum of modern and contemporary art in the state, a disastrous situation brought to our attention by our colleagues in Sarajevo, who have also warned of similar circumstances in other cultural and artistic institutions in the city.
Having last voiced our shock at the horrors of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are now concerned about the ongoing functioning of the region’s main cultural institutions, insofar as these betray the functioning of the state itself. Moreover, we ask ourselves what can possibly remain of a state once the institutions responsible for its cultural heritage have closed their doors.
CIMAM – International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art – addresses this petition to you, the political authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the hope that you will do everything in your power to resolve the status of the Umjetnièka galerija BiH, and that of all other museums and cultural institutions in Sarajevo.
Zdenka Badovinac. Director, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana
Sabine Breitwieser. Chief Curator of the Department of Media and Performance Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Chris Dercon. Director, Tate Modern, London
Mohammed Djehiche. Director, Musée national d’art moderne et contemporain d’Alger MaMA
Robert Fleck. Director, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn
Ann Goldstein. Director, Stedelijk Museum,Amsterdam
Madeleine Grynsztejn. Pritzker Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
Kathy Halbreich. Associate Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York
Vasif Kortun. Director of Programs and Research, SALT, Istanbul
Kian Chow Kwok. Director, The National Art Gallery, Singapore
Elizabeth Ann MacGregor. Director, Museum of Contemporary Art Sidney
Natalia Majluf. Director, Museo de Arte de Lima – MALI
Bartomeu Mari. Director, MACBA Museu d\'Art Contemporani de Barcelona
Ivo Mesquita. Chief Curator, Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo
Christine Van Assche. Chief Curator New Media Department, Centre Pompidou, Musée national d\'art modern, Paris