The temporary exhibition “Wake Up, Europe” arrives in Barcelona to remember the siege of Sarajevo 30 years later. The original exhibition, which was created by and opened at the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina last year, has been complemented with extra content on the solidarity actions headed by the City of Barcelona to aid the civilian population of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war and the siege of Sarajevo that lasted from 1992 to 1996.
Co-produced by the EUROM and the City Council of Barcelona, it aims to contribute to the knowledge of a recent chapter in the contemporary history of Europe, as well as to stimulate reflection on the meaning and practice of solidarity.
The opening will be held on October 26 at 6,30 pm and will count on the partipation of Elma Hašimbegović, curator of the exhibition and director of the History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the historian Nicolas Moll, the main researcher of the original content. The act will be chaired by Jordi Rabassa, councilor for the Democratic Memory of Barcelona City Hall, and Montserrat Puig i Llobet, vice-rector for Equality and Social Action of the University of Barcelona. The exhibition remains open to the public until January 8, 2023, at the former prison La Model.
For the majority of people in Europe, the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) remained mainly a tv-event; many felt that it did not really concern them or that nothing could be done about it. But at the same time there were also thousands of individuals in countries across Europe who decided they did not want to remain bystanders. Beyond professional aid organisations, support and solidarity mobilisations included ordinary citizens, NGOs, informal groups and artists. Numerous initiatives developed in many different European countries and other parts of the world. This support took various forms: helping Bosnian refugees who arrived in other countries, collecting and transporting food, medicine and other equipment to Sarajevo and elsewhere in BiH, and/or organizing demonstrations, meetings and information campaigns to mobilise fellow citizens and pressure their own governments to change policies towards BiH. This was a very heterogeneous mobilisation, a mixture of humanitarian and civic engagement, often in close interaction with those in Sarajevo and BiH who were involved in the civic, cultural and intellectual defence of the Bosnian way of life and of their country, and who were calling on the outside world to abandon its passivity, summarized in the slogan “Wake up Europe!”.
When the siege of Sarajevo began in 1992, Barcelona, through citizens and institutions, massively mobilized to help the Bosnian people through multiple initiatives that marked a style of direct cooperation, from city to city, that has been subsequently reproduced by other city councils in different conflict regions around the world.
Beyond contributing to our knowledge about the war in BiH as part of contemporary European history, and the relationship between Sarajevo and Barcelona thirty years later, this exhibition also wants to stimulate reflection on crucial questions for the present: What do we understand by solidarity? Are we doing enough to show solidarity with others? What can I personally do?
Original version (Sarajevo, 2021)
Curator: Elma Hasimbegović and Dina Memić
Research, documentation and texts: Nicolas Moll
Graphic and conceptual design: Samina Tanović
Catalan version (Barcelona, 2022)
Curator: Oriol López Badell
Research, documentation and texts: Núria Sala Ventura and Oriol López Badell
Advice: Xavier López, Maite Sirera, Jordi Guixé and Ricard Conesa
Exhibition design: El Globus Vermell
Graphic design: Nacho Sanz
Production and assembly: Sabaté S.L
Translation: Subtil S.A.
Proofreading: Vicenç Benéitez
Alonso Barranco, Jordi Cortes Carlos Carreras, Angels Cerdà, Iolanda Fresnillo, Plácid Garcia-Planas, Elodia Guillamón, Eric Hauck, Teresa Jepús, Milanka Ljubojević, Alma Masić, Jordi Prat (Autonomous Solidarity Foundation), Maite Safont, Leonor Secall Figuerola (Masters x Bosnia), Marc Sendrós (Lleida Solidarity), Teresa Turiera, Conxita Valls (Teachers x Bosnia), David Vilalta (Teachers x Bosnia), Photo Archive of Barcelona Historical Archive, The 9 Nou Vallès Oriental, La veu de l’Anoia, Clowns Without Borders