Biography of Šejla Kamerić
Šejla Kamerić (born 1976) is a Bosnian artist who has received widespread acclaim for her poignant yet intimate social and political commentary. With a background rooted in graphic design and advertising, Šejla Kamerić specializes in video art, film, and installation. Her work often merges her own personal experiences with that of themes of the war in the Balkans. She is part of a Balkan group of artists whose work deals with concepts such as the adaptation of Balkan society to capitalism and the process of creation and disintegration of national identities.
One of her most well-known works to date is her piece “Bosnian Girl”. For this project Šejla Kamerić experimented with graffiti she found on army barrack walls in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where in 1995 over 8000 Muslim Bosniaks were massacred. The graffiti reading “No teeth…? A mustache…? Smel like shit? Bosnian Girl!” was transposed onto a photographic self-portrait of the artist which was then conceived as a public project—printed as posters, billboards, magazine ads, and postcards. Šejla Kamerić argued this work transcended Bosnian society’s tendency to not look back at the past, by taking as part of its subject remnants (the graffiti) of the Srebrenica massacre. Equally, its wide dissemination served to empower Bosnian women who the artist admits are still struggling for equality today. Šejla Kamerić’s works such as “June is June Everywhere” and “If I sleep It Will Be Double” similarly allude to the artist’s personal memories of war, yet remarkably are not stereotypically gruesome and bloody. For these projects the artist used subtle black and white photographs of the bulleted walls of her home and pure white bedding to commemorate the unnerving environment in which she grew up.
Šejla Kamerić is a Member of the European Cultural Parliament and has been the recipient of an Artist in Residency Grant from the DAAD Fellowship in Berlin and the ECF Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity in 2011. In 2000, Kamerić participated in Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana. Her work is included in European collections such as Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; MACBA, Barcelona; Deutsche Telekom, Bonn; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam; ERSTE Collection, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb; and Vehbi Koç Foundation in Istanbul.