There are many ways of promoting regional cooperation. One of them is to appeal to the heart and to the emotions. With his photo exhibition, Alexander Crnogorac, a recipient of a WBF Move Grant, is doing just exactly that.
“Balkan Love” project aims to promote the cultural and ethnic diversity of the Western Balkans Region. It goes deep, penetrates the layers of misconceptions and stereotypes, providing to the public countless stories of inter-ethnic and often inter-religious couples who have overcome the inherent prejudices by thriving together in their lives.
Currently in the middle of the implementation of his project, we had the opportunity to meet with Alexander and ask him a few questions.
Dear Alexander. Can you describe your project and yourself shortly to our readers. Why was this project important to you, and what did you aim to reach with your project?
My project is called Balkan Love and is a photo documentary project. Its goal is to show that individual people, can in fact get along, live together and love one another. This is done through a series of portraits and short interviews of multiethnic couples from all across the Balkan region. This project is important to me because it is yet another episode in my continuing exploration of the Balkans as a theme in my professional work. The Balkans are and have been a source of inspiration in my photo documentary work.
What have you achieved with the implementation of your proposal?
The implementation of this proposal has allowed me to start the first phase of completing this project. In this first phase I am concentrating on Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Montenegro. In the coming phases I intend to cover the entire Balkan region, including Kosovo*, N. Macedonia, Croatia as well as Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria.
How do you think your project impacts the regional level? Does it help to enhance cooperation and people-to-people links in the Western Balkans?
I don’t have any illusion that a photographic exhibition can have a large impact on the Region, but nonetheless I do think that art is an important and powerful factor in shifting the publics opinion. Also, I think this is particularly true when adopting a personal narrative and sharing personal stories and experiences with the wider public. People are more likely to be touched and affected by these stories rather than by the news stories. So, I do hope this eventual exhibition will help inspire and motivate a solid number of individuals who will get a chance to see it, as opposed to having an influence on the much larger state institutions or government agents.
How would you describe the cooperation experience with WBF Move Grants? Are you eager to apply again with another idea?
The cooperation experience with WBF has been only positive. The application processes itself was truly simple as well as the following communication. I felt I was very much extended the opportunity to develop my work better and further without any interreference on behalf of the WBF which is very rare of an occurrence. In fact, there are very few such opportunities for independent artists who are not part of a larger collective or and NGO, so I am very much grateful for this experience and would and intend very much to reply with a new idea.
Was it hard to apply and obtain funding from the WBF?
As stated in the above question, considering my past experiences I feel the application process with the WBF was very simple and effective, which in return makes the entire experience even more positive.
I would definitely recommend to others WBF and would remind other artists that this is a great opportunity especially because as I said above, there really are very few opportunities for stipends for independent artist who are not part of a larger association or NGO. So, in this regard, I found the entire experience with the WBF extremely positive and beneficial.Alexander Crnogorac
Would you recommend WBF to others, and what would you say to other potential applicants in the future?
I would definitely recommend to others WBF and would remind other artists that this is a great opportunity especially because as I said above, there really are very few opportunities for stipends for independent artist who are not part of a larger association or NGO. So, in this regard, I found the entire experience with the WBF extremely positive and beneficial.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ opinion on Kosovo declaration of independence.