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5. Arts and Nation-building

Several institutions and cultural events promote the culture of the country. The most important ones are:

  • Umjetnička galerija Bosne i Hercegovine (Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina), founded in 1946. Its main task is the presentation and protection of works of art from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Bihaćko ljeto (Bihać Summer), a festival of theater, founded in 1998 and taking place in the middle of June every year.
  • Baščaršijske noći (Baščaršija Nights), a cultural festival held in Sarajevo at the beginning of July every year.
  • Dani Ajvatovice (The Days of Ajvatovica), a religious and cultural festival held in the village of Prusac, municipality of Donji Vakuf, in central Bosnia at the end of June every year. This Islamic festival has a long tradition and was revived in 1990, after being suppressed during Communism.
  • Aside from these events of national imporatance, there are many local cultural manifestations - e.g. Ljetne večeri pod lipama Gračanice (Summer Nights under the Limes of Gračanica), a cultural event organized in the town of Gračanica during July and August.

Reflecting the fragmentation of the country in two entities and ten cantons and the continuing animosity between the three main nationalities, no nation-wide, multi-national professional organizations in the realm of culture (as well as in other professions) exist (in contrast, for example, to sports where nation-wide leagues and associations do exist).

The nationalities have rather their own cultural associations. For the Bosniaks, the most significant one is the Bošnjačka zajednica kulture “Preporod” (The Bosniak Cultural Community “Rebirth”), which had been formed in 1903 but was discontinued in 1949. It was renewed in 1990.[1] Despite respective demands, the Bosnian Muslims did not receive their own national cultural association during Communism even after their official recognition as a nation, whereas the other Yugoslav nations had their own cultural associations (Matica).

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croats and Serbs have their own national cultural societies as well: Napredak (Progress) and Prosvjeta (Enlightenment) repectively. The Jewish cultural association is La Benevolencija. There is even a Croatian Science Society, which functions similar to the Academy of Sciences.

Some national associations exist at the local level.


[1]For a history of the Preporod see Husnija Kamberović’s text.