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Poetry of the City

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Senior Fellow Alma Tutić was inspired to engage with the topic of city space because of Henri Lefebvre’s ideas of rights to the city and of all space as social space. That is, space is a social product and every society creates its own, which makes Sarajevo’s social space even more interesting and unique. Alma was and still is, inspired by the graffiti in Sarajevo because it gives a voice to the people of the city.

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Screenshot from their Tumblr.

“Poetry of the City” brings issues of memory and voice into conversation with the use and ownership of public spaces through the lens of found art.

The power of Sarajevo’s graffiti lies not in collaborative street art and murals, but rather in one liners, small protests, and moments of tenderness that were so urgent and overwhelming that they were put on public walls. Some are more vulgar and obscene than others, but this Action Project sought to hold a light to what already exists around us. The heart of what drove this project is the socio-cultural disillusionment felt by the citizens of Sarajevo and their reclaiming of the city through art.

Alma believes that graffiti “is an anonymous rebellion that says what is in our minds and hearts.”

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Screenshot from their Tumblr.

Sarajevo has long struggled with pollution, unregulated waste disposal sites, illegal dumping and littering. Many of these problems require systematic state action which is long overdue, but there are some positive trends and strides forward. With the government, along with community members, tackling illegal dumps and littering, there is hope that society is becoming aware of the need for “spring cleaning.” Too often public space is considered no one’s space instead of everyone’s.

“Poetry of the City” brought issues of memory and voice into conversation with the use and ownership of public spaces through the lens of found art. The project specifically addressed the use of walls and graffiti as a means of sociocultural expression within a society that is still struggling with slow economic and political progress and change. The various tags tackled the problems of memory, voice, use and ownership by highlighting the mundane, the everyday, the walls passed by without so much as a second thought. What the one liners, stencils, and free hand tags bring to the table is a preservation of the voice of the people.

Explore the pictures collected through “Poetry of the City” on their tumblr here.