Nicht Fallen - PhMuseum

Nicht Fallen

Jost Franko

2017 - Ongoing

Slovenia; Croatia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Serbia; Kosovo

Hazira Đafić fled from Srebrenica with her brother Merfin in 1993, and has been living in a refugee settlement near Banovići, Bosnia and Herzegovina, for over 25 years. Though her brother managed to escape the bloodshed that has befell on Srebrenica, he stepped on a landmine and died, more than 10 years after the Dayton agreement, that officially ended the conflict and established a complicated political system in the country.

Hazira framed his obituary picture in a fragile, broken frame, and tapped over it, so it would hold for years to come. In thick black letters, the writings on the orange safety tape that held together the frame read nicht fallen.

Since its outset in 2017, the aim of the project has been to depict and map out displaced families still living in collective and refugee centres, individuals who have lost their citizenship in the aftermath of war, and families living in economically deprived regions that lack basic infrastructure throughout Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo. Nicht Fallen hopes to portray and reveal consequences inherent to war, that are often completely disregarded decades after the conflict, and questions the evasive relationship between memory and history.

In Bosnia alone, over 120 refugee and collective centres are still active today for the victims of the war in the 1990s, who never managed to return to their villages. These centres are now housing second and even third generation of refugees and their offspring. “Once you are a refugee, you stay a refugee for ever,” is a phrase I’ve been encountering throughout the former Yugoslavia region.

Most displaced families who still live in collective centres remain disengaged from the local community as most commonly, the settlements remain located far from populated areas. War never ended in the minds of many people involved in the project, as the trauma was never really dealt with. They remain trapped in the perpetual and never-ending cycle of violence and poverty.

Through research, examination of various archival visual material, and images of everyday life, Nicht Fallen hopes to create a visual narrative, that is tied to a specific location and historical background, but nonetheless reveals us the universal tragedy of war and destiny of those trapped in the midst of it. The ultimate goal of the project is to see how long-term displacement, shifts in economic and political powers, and the dissolution of the state have affected the everyday lives of those, who were not fortunate enough to find peace after the end of the war.

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