In early June, I organized an evening soiree in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina where my father and my siblings reside. I usually fly through en route to one of the many shows my father and I do together (as was the case this time), but I wanted to take an opportunity to connect with Sarajevo audience.

My dad suggested "Atelje Figure" for the one night event. Mr. Sasa Masic opened this eclectic cultural space about 10+ years ago. His family owned a top floor apartment in a building from the Austro-Hungarian period. The apartment was destroyed during the war in the 1990s, and there were trees growing inside the space as the ceiling caved in and the apartment was burnt down. He said his family used to host friends and music in the space and he felt he needed to preserve that history. He rebuilt the walls, but kept the space raw and hung all the collectibles he acquired over the years.  He invites and welcomes artists of all disciplines. He was a film producer, and is of a rock and roll generation, a man in his 70's that welcomes you for a coffee or an aperitivo blasting live Led Zeppelin from the late 1970's. 

Day after me, he was hosting Aleksandar Hemon, writer whose work I know thanks to the New Yorker magazine. He recently published a fiction book called "The World and all that it holds"- just got my copy and will report back:). 

My event started with an opening act; classical music performed by Ms Violeta and Mr. Vladimir, who spoke French to each other. She's from Sarajevo, but lives in France, he's from Kazakhstan, but was educated in Vienna. He met his now wife in Split and settled there. He travels once a month to teach at the Music Academy in Sarajevo. He speaks fluent Croatian. These are the interesting people that pass through this creative space. How lucky was I to get to be welcomed and host my event here?

When I travel to the region for the various exhibits my father organizes, I am always asked , if I am able to make a living from my work. Most people (not all) are living decent lives, but supporting art in any format is not a top priority. As a person that was born in a small town of Mostar, grew up in Zagreb and made a life in the big city of New York, I wanted to share my journey and my creative process and how I am able to support myself with the work that my two hands create.

I also wanted people to try the jewelry, ask questions, and there were many!  Mostly related to the creative process, living in the States, naming my work, who wears my work, etc.. It was a full house of some folks I knew and a lot of new faces.


But event like this brought a few people I haven't seen in many decades. My first cousin Minja who was born 2 days before me in the same hospital.  We hung out every summer until 1991. My cousin Maja whom I haven't seen since the late 80's, and our family friend Mirza, whose wife and him are close friends with my mom. They helped us acclimate when we first settled in the States, as they live in Atlanta. I haven't seen him in at least 20 years.. wow.


What kept running through my mind was how rich my life is to have family and friends all over the globe. And yet, because our lives where affected by the conflicts of the 1990s we are not destined to really be in each other's lives anymore. Not in the capacity we were. 

There is so much more to write on this topic, but I will leave it at the Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj, whose installation I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past week. Large scale sculptures commissioned for the rooftop of the Museum reflect children's drawings from the desks of the schools he knows from his childhood. 

He "understands exhibitions as a way to alter the course of personal and collective histories, creating complex worlds that claim space for freedom, desire, intimacy, and identity. His work is deeply connected to the recent history of his native country Kosovo and the consequences of cultural and political tensions in the region, which he often takes as a starting point for igniting countercurrent poetics for the future." 

So as a creative person- I try to make sense of my life through the work that I do and this extends beyond jewelry. I take every opportunity to connect with as many people as I can. I believe by meeting more, we become bigger and more compassionate towards our fellow humans, and we seek peace within and without us. 

For a short video on this fantastic evening please watch below: 



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