Classic photographic document viewers most commonly associate with images depicting the “decisive moment”, so it would seem that the work of Šejla Kamerić is purely anti-documentary. Šejla Kamerić (Sarajevo, 1976) is a Bosnian artist who entered the European art scene in the late nineties. Her work was fully stigmatized with a conflict in the former Yugoslavia, and thus her work is a sophisticated post-conceptual play with personal and social memory that confronts the documentary practice and media properties.
Šejla Kamerić´s works are always filled with high emotion, as same as they are distinguished by persistent minimalism, fueled by her education in graphic design. She can take over the language of the advertising and media world, but these strategies are turning against obtuse viewer, who is already oversaturated with media images. Her works express the many traumas of war and the actual position of women in society –
an important point of her work is her own body. Whether photographing herself, as we know from her most famous work „Bosnian Girl“ or introspective photo „Sorrow“ (referring to van Gogh´s drawing) or as an invisible participant happening in impressive photo from the first day of the Palestinian second Intifada „We Were Chilling By the Pool When The War Started“ . In these and other works, though she does not create the myth of ego-artist, but with simple resources highlights the societal gears grinding individuality
(or memory) of an individual.
The film 1395 Days without Red was created as an artistic collaboration between Šejla Kamerić and Albanian artist Anri Sala, when eventually each decided to create her/his own version of the footage. The story is again going on in war-affected place, in suffocating timelessness of the occupied Sarajevo between 1992 and 1996. In an isolated town its residents, if they had decided to leave their homes, had never wear bright clothes on the street, because they would become an easy “prey” for Serbian snipers hidden in the hills around the city. To these factors is reffering the eloquent title of the work.
1395 Days without Red is not characterized by excessive narrative, on the contrary it underscores the timelessness and anxiety of an confined environment, focusing on the actions of only one character in the film, starred by Spanish actress Maribel Verdú, which is a charismatic and elegant woman passing through the streets of Sarajevo. A significant component of the film is music: Tchaikovsky’s sixth symphony plays the Sarajevo Philharmonic Orchestra led by Ari Benjamin Meyers. All movie scenes and images are intertwined by uncommon touch of an art as so unexpected during the war. Aggression and violence are not accented in explicit representation, while the entire movie is filled with principle that could probably be named as missing. This missing is the intersection of many centrifugal approaches to shared memories, personal experience, media reality and narrative fiction. This film is possibly not documentation of “reality”, but also we can not say that it’s an art detached from the experiences and memories of millions of people.