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Belfast Exposed Photography: DRAGANA JURISIC - YU: The Lost Country - 25 Oct 2013 to 20 Dec 2013

Current Exhibition


25 Oct 2013 to 20 Dec 2013
Gallery open Tuesday to Saturday – 11am to 4pm
Belfast Exposed Photography
The Exchange Place
23 Donegall Street
BT1 2FF
Belfast
United Kingdom
Europe
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From the series YU: The Lost Country © Dragana Jurisic


Artists in this exhibition: Dragana Jurisic


YU: The Lost Country
Dragana Jurisic

25 October to 20 December 2013

This series of photographs are the outcome of Dragana Jurisic's journey around the former Yugoslavia, retracing the route of an extraordinary expedition made by Anglo Irish writer Rebecca West in 1937 written about in the acclaimed book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1941). The final images capture unexpected and often uncanny parallels to West’s text and delve into the artist’s understanding of her own history.

At the centre of Dragana Jurisic’s project lies the extraordinary travel book Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, written by Anglo Irish writer Rebecca West in 1937, charting her journey through Yugoslavia. The resulting work, initially intended as a snap book, spiralled into half a million words, and became a portrait not just of Yugoslavia, but of Europe on the brink of the Second World War.

West thought of Yugoslavia as her motherland. By its very nature Yugoslavia was a land of displaced peoples and this was a fate that Rebecca West shared. Born to an Anglo-Irish family, she never felt like she truly belonged anywhere. "In any class I feel at home, and I am never accepted, because of the traces I bear of my other origins." West said that she could only remember things if she was able to write them down and consequently wrote half a million words about a country she knew was to become a memory, in order not to forget anything about it, and to preserve this memory for millions of Yugoslavs who now live in exile. She thought of art as re-living of experience.

The series of photographs exhibited in Belfast Exposed are the outcome of Jurisic’s committed and uncompromising retracing of West’s journey over a three year period, visiting the exact locations and seeking out similar revelatory narratives. The final images capture unexpected and often uncanny parallels to West’s text and delve into the artist’s understanding of her own history. Jurisic was born into Yugoslavia and describes her practice as being produced from the position of an exile:

“Now, more than twenty years after the war(s) started, I began 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 until then. (Being a child of a Croatian father and a Serbian mother, this left me somewhat confused.) The census researcher's answer to why this was impossibility, mirrored very closely something that Mussolini said: "Yugoslavia does not exist. It is a heterogeneous conglomerate which you cobbled together in Paris.’ In search of both the lost country and the lost identity, I started retracing West’s journey and re-interpreting her masterpiece by using photography and text in an attempt to re-live my experience of Yugoslavia and to re-examine the conflicting emotions and memories of the country that ‘was’.”

Acknowledgements

YU: The Lost Country is supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council.

Artist Biography

Since receiving a distinction for her MFA (University of Wales, Newport) in 2008, Jurisic was selected as an Axis MAstar in 2009, “An annual selection of the most promising artist from the UK’s leading MA courses”. In 2010, she received the Arts Council of Ireland Travel and Training Award. In 2011, Dragana won the Royal Hibernian Academy’s Emerging Photographic Artist Award, Arts Council Ireland Travel and Training Award and Culture Ireland funding, as well as the Graduate Student Prize from The International Rebecca West Society. In 2012, Dragana received funding from the Belfast Exposed and the Arts Council Ireland award. She exhibited widely internationally and her work is part of the Irish State Art Collection, University of Michigan collection and many private collections. Currently Jurisic is undertaking her PhD research at the European Centre for Photographic Research .

Exhibition Talk

Dragana Jurisic will give a talk about her project on Friday 25 October at 1pm. This event is free but please register with ciara@belfastexposed.org

Belfast Exposed Photography






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