The Damnation of Memory - photographs of the National University Library of Sarajevo
Do Not Forget,
Remember and Warn!
Photographs of the National University Library of Sarajevo
by Miriam Nabarro
September 5 2014
opening times 9am - 11pm
SOAS Library, Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0 XG
PRIVATE VIEW: THURSDAY
17 JULY 4PM-8PM
RSVP essential (It is a functioning University Library, so
there will be a list on the door): Miriam Nabarro 07973151966 firstname.lastname@example.org
'On this place.... Serbian criminals in the
Night of 25-26th August 1992 set on fire the National and University's Library
of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Over 2 Millions of Books, Periodicals and Documents
Vanished in the Flames
Do Not Forget, Remember and Warn!'
So reads the plaque at
the entrance to the historic Vijecnica, the National Library of Bosnia and
Herzegovina in Sarajevo, which was destroyed by systematic shelling 25-26th
August 1992. Describing the burning of the library in his poem, Lament
for Vijecinica in 1993, the Bosnian poet, Goran Simic writes:
The National Library burned for three days last
August and the city was choked with black snow.
Set free from the stacks, characters wandered
the streets, mingling with passer-by and the souls of dead soldiers
Fernando Baez describes
the irreparable, deliberate destruction of the library through a term
identified by Roman thinkers for cultural genocide: damnatio memoriae,
or memory erasure: an act aimed specifically the eradicate the collective and
multiple diverse histories of a people,a city, a country and a way of
Miriam Nabarro, the
first Artist in Residence in the Department of Development Studies at SOAS,
photographed the library under reconstruction in 2006 and again in 2012.
The exhibition consists of work printed by the artist with liquid emulsion on
glass, suspended in precarious frames by FRAMEJUNKIE to let light in, causing
the memory of the building to appear in elusive, ghostlike impermanence.
The newly renovated
building reopened in April 2014 as part of the commemorations of the centenary
of World War One, which was began when Archduke Franz Ferdinand was killed as
he left the building.
The Damnation of
Memory is at the Wolfson
Gallery in School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) University
Library, which holds an invaluable and unparalleled collection of language,
history and culture and acts as a collective meeting point for scholars and students.