Wednesday 20 September 2017

Exhibit A, an intriguing and clever twist of perspective

Photograph by Dragana Jurisic
Photograph by Dragana Jurisic

In an intriguing and clever twist of perspective, this roaring lion looks like he might be about to eat the flag that is, of course, actually quite far away. This sunny flag belongs to Macedonia, one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, and this could easily be a comment on the rise of new consumerism and capitalism eating the new regime.

Macedonia is still in its relative youth, having only gained official independence in 1991, and it is still in a state of development as one of the countries under consideration for EU membership. The photographer behind the lens was Dragana Jurisic, who knows first-hand what it means to gain independence.

Dragana looks at the effects of exile and displacement on memory and identity. The daughter of a Croatian father and a Serbian mother, she admits identity is a confusing subject for her.

"Yugoslavia fell apart in 1991. With the disappearance of the country, at least one million five hundred thousand Yugoslavs vanished, like the citizens of Atlantis, into the realm of imaginary places and people," she says. "Today, in the countries that came into being after Yugoslavia's disintegration, there is a total denial of the Yugoslav identity.

"Now, more than twenty years after the war started, I feel at the safe distance to recall and question my own memories of both the place and the events personally experienced. I am calling myself an exile, and not an expatriate, because I can't, even if I wanted to, return 'home'. During the 1990 census, I was also denied the right to be Yugoslav - the nationality I identified myself with since birth."

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