Smirna Kulenović: In the Absence, The Artist is Present

This article was previously published in Issue 19, ABSENCE (December 2018).


Bosnian artist Smirna Kulenović was born in Sarajevo in 1994 during the siege. Today she is one of the most interesting artists within the contemporary Bosnian art scene.

Smirna Kulenovic (Image: Samuel Berthet)


As a young artist working in Sarajevo, what does absence mean to you?


In the past three months, absence has been one of the most important topics in my life. My current absence within the Bosnian legal system derives from one specific event that happened in my life that I could not control. Last August, I came back home from Portugal and both my passport and ID were stolen at the airport in Sarajevo upon my arrival. Since then, I am incapable of doing anything legal within the system, since I don’t exist anymore. I am feeling my absence in my own country, but also in the rest of Europe whe