What an incredible adventure of art, history, new friendships and collaboration. Our first camp with Anita Sulimanovic and Hrvoje Mitrov, both accomplished visual artists, took place at Suncokret Center for Community Development yesterday, in the remote area of Gvozd. At 11 AM Anita and Hrvoje picked me up from the hotel and drove me around through different historical areas in Zagreb—a road trip that took us from Anita’s birth place in the hills of Zagreb, one of the first places that was bombed, since her house sits right across from the House of Parliament, to Hrvoje’s current exhibition at the Finance Ministry Building. As we advanced towards our final destination, Anita and Hrvoje, both old friends from their time as aspiring artists in the 90’s, reminisced about the challenges encountered during war times. As we continued on our trip to Gvozd, we stopped in the small town of Karlovac, a strategic point and front line where both sides exchanged fire for long periods of time. The town is still severely damaged by the war, and I was stunned to see houses, all over, still bearing the holes caused by the impact of shell fragments.
As we arrived into Gvozd, we were greeted by a group of amazing kids, some of them spoke English, some of them didn’t, who immediately surrounded us with great curiosity and big bright smiles. They were all so excited to be there and followed all the instructions attentively and got to work immediately.
The Tolerance Pit is a site-specific piece designed by Anita Sulomovic and Hrvoje Mitrov. The project involved Croatian and Serbian kids engaged in the process of digging a six-feet deep hole together, on the grounds of Suncokret. It took them about two hours, which we all thought was a remarkable record for children of their age. On the other side, a group volunteers were in charge of cutting pieces of wood, that were later laid in layers into the pit. Then, the kids were instructed to quietly go one by one and express their feelings and thoughts of the things that made them either angry of happy. It was a symbolic gesture of tolerance, which they took very seriously.
THE KIDS SAY HELLO MIAMI!