Dear Yugoslavia, I Regret to Inform You...
The project, “Dear Yugoslavia, I regret to inform you….” reimagines ethnic portraiture and popular depictions of folk costumes in the former Yugoslavia through the lens of the country’s civil wars. Croatian illustrator, Vladimir Kirin, 1894-1963, created a 5 part series of painted illustrations of
Yugoslavian ethnic types, titled Narodne Nosnje
Jugoslavije I-V, (The People of Yugoslavia I-V.) I purchased Volumes I-IV and made paintings directly into the Kirin illustrations -infecting the picturesque and romantic representations with references to the violence committed in the civil wars. Some of the references include scenes of mass grave exhumations, forensic anthropology, anatomical imagery, military weaponry and uniforms. The mixing of disparate visual languages, painting styles and iconographies of political violence and anthropology is an attempt to create unexpected meanings and point to new ways of processing traumatic histories. The project is my response to the materials I had been studying in the SENSE archive.