Šejla Kamerić: Place to Stay

Location: Svetvinčenat (Almond orchard), Croatia
Curator: Tihomir Milovac, Avanti! Centre avant–gardes
Production and organization: Apoteka — space for contemporary art and Avanti! Centre avant–gardes for the “Invisible Savičenta — translating tradition into contemporary culture” project
August, 2020.

Place to Stay by Šejla Kamerić is a powerful artistic message that brings back into focus themes of refugee struggles and the unresolved statuses of millions of individuals who are left searching for economic prosperity, political freedoms and personal security in other, safer places. However, the paradox of their flight lies within the connections between the downfall of their nations, economic and otherwise, and the policies and military machinations of the West, as well as the legacy of colonialism. At the same time, Europe thinks of itself as a victim of the migrant crisis that is often depicted as an “invasion” on local cultures, and focuses on the so-called “clash of civilizations”. Many support the thesis that these “others” bring into question Europe’s “way of being”, even though their very presence and their recent refugee status is a reflection of European imperialism of the past, which in turn was directly responsible for the massive wealth of the continent.   

The artist envisioned Place to Stay as a collage of inoperative flat signs for various types of tourist accommodations, written in different languages and characters. The composition is “underlined” by a single glowing sign that reads Refugees welcome, which actualizes the themes of the piece, while perplexing at the same time. This installation was created as a part of the “Invisible Savičenta” project.  

Excerpt from the “Place to Stay” text by Tihomir Milovac, curator