Sarajevo Scars

The first time I was in Sarajevo I felt like a punch in the stomach when a colleague of mine, from Sarajevo made me notice the walls full of war weapons holes. Till then the Balkans conflict to me represented only a piece of contemporary history read in newspapers,  even if it took place very close to where I lived…Sarajevo was the place of a terrible, dreadful  massacre but these words were empty of any real meaning to me, of emotions felt in person…and then I was there, in front of those walls, in front of those holes, indelible scars of that massacre.

Ever since that moment, the Sarajevo massacre has become true to me and I cannot avoid to scan those walls every time I go back there, I cannot avoid to think that every person over 40 I had the chance to meet for professional reason, everyone I am working  with, has inevitably a painful war story to recount.

Then I started thinking on how to translate in photography project that same violent emotion…taking  pictures of those scars, many of them, in different moments and in different neighborhoods…and while I was taking them I couldn’t help having the impression that my project was only an abstract and trivial operation, empty of whatever real meaning and certainly not providing what I was searching for: the same strong and violent emotion I felt the first time I realized those were real weapon holes and that probably, before arriving to the wall some of the shot trespassed the body of someone.

Anyway I decided not to look at them carefully before feeling that that collection of many images of scars was completed, after a long while and a lot of pictures taken…

And then I looked attentively at those pictures and astonishingly they caused to me the same reaction, the same punch in the stomach I felt the first time…I couldn’t understand why at the beginning…but then I realized that a weapon hole in a wall cannot be a nonconcrete or abstract thing, that actually there is nothing more real and violent of such a scar, as a memory of a massacre: the simplicity of the violence in an image that speaks loudly about a recent past…and maybe they will have the same effect to someone else, as an indelible memory of a cruelty inflicted and suffered.