The Thin Veneer: The Peoples of Bosnia and Their Disappearing Cultural HeritageApril 12 – June 7, 1997
The Thin Veneer: The Peoples of Bosnia and Their Disappearing Cultural Heritage is an exhibition of photographs, books, maps, graphic materials, and original art work. Guest curators Walter Denny, Professor of Art History, and Joel Halpern, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, worked with Exhibition Coordinator Roxanne Stanulis to select images that show the multicultural heritage of traditional Bosnia and its subsequent destruction during the latest period of civil strife.
Dismayed by the present climate of ethnic intolerance in Bosnia, Professors Denny and Halpern conceived of an exhibition that would demonstrate with visual evidence a broader view of that country's history. By depicting the rich multiculturalism of traditional Bosnia, Denny and Halpern challenge those who have attempted to erase this history. As with every exhibition, The Thin Veneer: The Peoples of Bosnia and Their Disappearing Cultural Heritage also reflects the individual interests of its organizers. Art Historian Walter Denny brought a comprehensive knowledge of Islamic art and architecture to the project while Anthropologist Joel Halpern provided an intimate understanding of the Bosnian people.
Detail of an engraving of the
market place in Sarajevo
(1894) from Rudolph Maron
Maldini Wildenhain's Bosnia
Hercegovina, Zagreb, 1908,
photography Creative Services,
University of Massachusets
Another section of the exhibition juxtaposes recent photographs documenting the destruction of several architectural monuments with earlier images showing the monuments intact. Although the monuments represent only a fraction of the losses to Bosnia's cultural heritage, their juxtaposition
Joel Halpern, Flute Player,
1964, color photograph,
20 x 16 inches
In conjunction with the exhibition, a free symposium cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities was held on April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall on the University campus.
Generous funds for the exhibition, catalogue and symposium were provided by: the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation, New York; Islamic Council of New England; Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts; Center for European Studies at Cornell University; Department of Anthropology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; the Chancellor's Office, Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities, University Museum of Contemporary Art, Middle Eastern Studies Program, and the UMass Arts Council of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.