By Selma Jasencic, born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, works at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees.
In the last of the series from the workshops at @sculpturespace, Selma chose to create a piece depicting Stari Most (Old Bridge) that was famously bombed during the Yugoslav Civil War in the 90s. The bridge was built during the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century and is situated in Mostar, a city with pre-Ottoman, eastern Ottoman, Mediterranean and Western European architectural features, and is an outstanding example of multicultural urban settlement. Upon watching the news in London that the bridge had collapsed, I remember my parents gasping in disbelief, it was a moment when everyone stopped and thought, the war has really gone too far now. Every moment of the war felt this way of course but this moment was deeply symbolic of a collective wound and terror that our history and identity was being violently erased. There was a sense of no return, the destruction of a historic heritage that contained such a rich and complex history, with the slow passage of time across centuries contained in its aged stone. Some hope returned however in Stari Most's reconstruction in 2004, when the original stone and rubble that fell into the river Neretva was salvaged and used to rebuild the bridge. Selma's piece depicts both the wound and the beauty and depth that result from reparative processes. Mostar and the Old Bridge remain one of the most beautiful regions and landmarks in Former Yugoslavia.
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