Spring 2017 Fellow
Fellow: Aida Šehović
w_i_t_n_e_s_s_(assembly) is the initial phase of a multi-year project that addresses the prevalent culture of impunity surrounding gender-based violence. According to recent national surveys, one in six women living in the US has experienced an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime; in conflict zones, women and girls are targeted systematically by military forces who use sexual violence as a weapon of war. Responding to the general silence around this issue, the project will focus on educating and engaging the public on the ways rape has been used as a weapon of terror to dominate the bodies and minds of groups of people based on their race, religion, ethnicity or nationality.
Building upon her belief that confronting, healing and resisting systems of oppression must be done collectively, Šehović will organize a series of talks, discussions, and collaborative art making sessions at different venues in all five boroughs of New York City. The public exchanges are meant to bring together survivors of sexual violence, experts in the field, and the broader public with the aim of creating a safe space where communal knowledge on this subject matter can be acquired and shared, and new methods of problem solving can be explored. The project includes a reading collective that will meet regularly to further interpret how patriarchy deeply influences societies, culturally, socially and politically, and creatively explore and investigate ways of dealing with both systematic and individual cases of sexual violence.
Past Relevant work
ŠTO TE NEMA is an ongoing participatory community art project meant to commemorate the 8,372 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys killed during the Srebrenica genocide. Existing as a nomadic monument made with collected porcelain cups (fildžani) filled with coffee, ŠTO TE NEMA is collectively assembled and disassembled by people on July 11 every year, but each time in a different location.
For the past 11 years, ŠTO TE NEMA nomadic monument has traveled to 11 US and European cities upon invitation from Bosnian immigrant communities. This year, Šehović brought the ŠTO TE NEMA monument to Chicago on July 11, 2017 and had over 4000 participants.
Aida Šehović (b. 1977, Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is a Bosnian-American artist based in New York City. A 2007 Jacob K. Javits Fellow, Šehović holds an MFA (2010) from Hunter College and a BA with Honors (2006) from the University of Vermont.
Her work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, the Flux Factory and the Grand Central Art Center. Selected residencies, fellowships and honors include: Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space Residency (2015), GCAC Artist Residency (2014), Socrates Sculpture Park Emerging Artist Fellowship (2013), Oma’s Soup Grant (2012), Hunter College Graf Travel Grant (2009), ArtsLink Award (2006), Santa Fe Art Institute Residency (2006), Vermont Arts Council Artist Development Grant (2005), and Vermont Studio Center Residency (2005). Her work has been reviewed and written about in the Huffington Post, Muftah, KCET, Globe and Mail, Politics Reconsidered, Dani, Radikal Hayat, and Seven Days. Šehović has participated on panels and symposiums at universities including Yale University, Trinity College, Pace University, Connecticut College, Columbia University and American University; arts institutions, such as Untitled Art Fair, Skowhegan Project Space and Queens Museum, as well as various community organizations.