Name: Contemporary art exhibit from Prishtina closed in Belgrade

Date:  2006-present

Location:  Europe

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion , Racial/Ethnic

MediumPainting , Photography , Mixed Media

Artist: KONTEKST Gallery in Belgrade

Confronting Bodies: Serbian police, Serbian nationalist forces

Date of Action: February 2008

Specific Location: Belgrade

Description of Artwork: The artists taking part in the exhibition were Artan Balaj, Jakup Ferri, Driton Hajredini, Flaka Haliti, Fitore Isufi Koja, Dren Maliqi, Alban Muja, Vigan Nimani, Nurhan Qehaja, Alketa Xhafa and Lulzim Zeqiri.

Before the exhibition was supposed to be opened in Belgrade a big scandal was produced because of the work you can see on page 40 of the catalog (, it shows adem jashari, an UCK-leader who is considered as freedom fighter by Albanians and stylized to a national icon in Kosovo whereas Serbs consider him as a war criminal and terrorist. The work was destroyed at the opening.

Description of Incident: the exhibition EXCEPTION, Contemporary art scene from Prishtina (Kosova) scheduled to open on 7 February 2008 (and to be on display until 15 February 2008) at KONTEKST Gallery in Belgrade WAS FORCED TO CLOSE JUST BEFORE THE OPENING.

The Serbian police that intervened just before the opening as they estimated that they cannot guarantee safety to the curators and the public, after an organized group of Serbian nationalist forces attacked the gallery space and even destroyed Dren Maliqi's work Face to face.

On 8 February 2008, the curators of the project Vida Knezevic, Kristian Lukic, Ivana Marjanovic and Gordana Nikolic asked PUBLICLY the Ministry of culture of Serbia and the city of Belgrade to react firmly against such nationalist forces in order to protect the exhibition in the future. The curators insisted on the right to present the project in Belgrade in the near future.

On 8 February, these violent nationalist forces attacked again, they threw stones in the windows of the KONTEKST gallery and broke them and destroyed the gallery's sign on the door.

The exhibition was presented previously at the Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina, Novi Sad (22.01 - 05.02.2008). The exhibition is a joint effort of two organizations Kontekst, Belgrade, and Napon, Novi Sad.

Results of Incident: The exhibition was closed.

There is a petition to ask the Serbian Government and the governmental bodies of the Serbian Ministry of Culture as well as the Belgrade city council and city institutions to ACT and PROTECT (in accordance with the law) the artists, curators and institutions involved in the organization of the exhibition project.

Source: Marina Grzinic and Rosa Reitsamer

Submitted By: NCAC

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