Degrading phrases about Bosnian women are superimposed over a black and white photograph of the artist staring straight at the viewer. Taken from a graffiti written by an unknown Dutch soldier in 1994/5, a member of the Royal Netherlands Army who, as part of the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-95, were responsible for protecting the Srebrenica safe area. The artist’s gaze is unflinching, direct and challenges not just the words pushed onto her, and all Bosnian women, but invites us to see their new form of identity – where victimhood and prejudice, the past and the future are intertwined in co-existing opposition. Originally a series of posters publicly displayed on the anniversary of the Srebenica genocide in 2003, this work has become iconic of post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, a direct confrontation of war crimes committed against women and the prejudices that came during and after it.
"We live in a constant war where the female body is used as a territory. ‘Bosnian Girl’ is not me but any girl or woman… anyone whose rights are denied. This work comes from Bosnia but it tells a universal story of prejudice and bigotry"