Tarik Samarah

With art, Sarajevo fights against all that is bad

Photographer Tarik Samarah is founder and director of Gallery 11/07/95, a memorial gallery that opened in 2012 near Cathedral and is now one of the most visited institutions that talks about modern BiH history.


Author of the gallery's permanent exhibit on genocide in Srebrenica, he says the aim of his team is not just to tell the story of the horrible war in BiH during the 1990s, but to highlight killings that take place all over the world.

 - Our mission is to be on the side of the victims, regardless of their skin color, religion or nation. The Gallery familiarizes visitors with the Siege of Sarajevo, a city that has been a place of great suffering, but also incredible beauty, throughout history.

In order to better transmit a message about senseless violence, the gallery offers audio guides to the permanent exhibit in seven languages, with recordings by well-known figures.

- Our displays can evoke deep emotions and even be disturbing, yet visitors are thankful to learn more about the themes we discuss. 

Charismatic city

Tarik sees Sarajevo as a charismatic city that uses art to fight all that is bad.

- One example is Greetings from Sarajevo 1993, posters which are on display in our Gallery and were created during the Siege by the design group, Trio.

He recommends the Historical Museum and the National Museum of BiH, which testify to the cultural and historical richness of this region.

- I’m glad the renovation of the Olympics Museum is almost finished, and one should visit all the annexes of the Museum of the City of Sarajevo, the War Childhood Museum and Tunnel of Hope. I hope to see the construction of the Ars Aevi Museum of Modern Art, as designed by Renzo Piano, so that the incredible artworks in the Ars Aevi Depot in Skenderija will get a permanent home.

He sees former industrial complexes as ideal spaces for art pavilions, and he thinks more places are needed where works by young artists may be bought.

He says tourists should walk around Baščaršija and Kovači St., where they will encounter many “warm” shops.

- Here you will feel the soul of a city where everything is possible. In Baščaršija you can buy various souvenirs-artisan products, creations by young designers, and Vučko – the ‘84 WOG mascot.

Laid-back atmosphere

Tarik praises Četiri Sobe Gospođe Safije for its modern, fusion food; Sedef and Pod Lipom for great local food, and he is keen to mention that Boccone, Nello, Klopa... have excellent menus. In the evening he prefers to enjoy the laid-back atmosphere at Blind TigerJazzbinaMashOperaBarometar....

As for escaping city crowds, he suggests a ride up to Trebević on the cable car, a visit to Vrelo Bosne, Rakitnica Canyon, Umoljani and the Via Dinarica trail. He recommends OK Fest (July 6-8, Tjentište) for music lovers.

- Sarajevo needs more low-cost flights, better organized mass transit and to renovate its Olympic infrastructure so that tourists can enjoy all that it has to offer year-round.