Women Engaged/Engaged Art in Postwar Bosnia: Reconciliation, Recovery, and Civil Society

Cynthia Simmons


In postwar and post-Communist Bosnia-Herzegovina, civil society has been developing along with a signifi cant recasting of women’s roles in public life. Researchers have equated civil society since the war in Bosnia almost exclusively with non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Certainly this has been the most infl uential sphere of both women’s work and of public activities contributing to a nascent civil society. Researchers have given insuffi cient attention, however, to the contributions of women in the burgeoning free press in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as to the increasing social engagement and infl uence of women artists and arts administrators. The contribution of the arts to civil society receives little attention, but women writers, artists, and arts administrators are addressing in their work and projects issues of justice, reconciliation, and human rights. Some who began their creative life in Yugoslavia, and who formerly sought independence from ideology in pure aestheticism, now embrace political engagement. They employ the potentially “free zone” of art to encourage the communication and mutual responsibility between the government and citizenry that underlies a civil society. Just as women have taken on new public roles since the war—as directors in non-governmental organizations and as editors and journalists in the independent press—women artists are addressing specifi c postwar themes, and women arts administrators are promoting publications, creating exhibitions, and organizing events that draw attention to issues that are critical to the success of Bosnia’s fl edgling democracy.

Full Text:


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/cbp.2010.150


  • There are currently no refbacks.