May 1994

Dalida Hadzihalilovic

‘Just like all people who lived on the territory of BH, especially those in Sarajevo, we had a hard time making it possible to live, let alone work. However, people can get used to just about anything. And so we wanted to keep working primarily because that was our best psychological therapy. We made a lot of posters, and while on one had it was difficult, I mean it was definitely hard, but we made a point of creating a positive atmosphere that at least for a moment would be isolated from everything that was going on. We even had enough electricity for a TV sometimes, and that’s how we followed what was happening in the world. Sometime in the spring time of that year, I think, I left Skenderija for the first time, and the bright sunlight flashed in my eyes. My eyes hurt, and from then on I think that I have night blindness. During the day the Collegium artisticum, you know, our office, was our working studio, and then at night we would move the tables, put away the computers, connect the armchairs, and that’s how we made our beds. And the toilet at the Collegium was where we washed, cooked, and did everything else relate to hygiene. We were lucky that there was water in Skenderija, so we would wait in line in the morning with canisters. Then we would pour the water into bottles and used it as was necessary.’


MAY 1994

• Andrei Kozyrev, Russian Foreign Minister, proposes a four-month truce.

• On the occasion of Easter, a solemn liturgy is held at the Church of the Holy Transfiguration.
• The famous Formula 1 driver Aerton Senna is killed in an accident.

• On Poljine, a hill above Sarajevo, the Bosnian Serb army requests to take a 122mm artillery piece from a UN checkpoint. The French soldiers refuse to hand over the weapon, which is under UN control, which leads to an argument. The UNPROFOR calls for NATO assistance. NATO planes fly low above the UN checkpoint.

• Taxi fares in Sarajevo: From the city center to "Kosevo" hospital – a can of fish; from the center to the neighborhood of Otoka- 1 liter of oil and 1 kilogram of sugar.
• Sarajevans fish in the city’s small river, the Miljacka, in order to survive.

• Akashi makes a secret deal with the Bosnian Serbs so that they can transport their tanks through the exclusion zone; in return they will allow through a convoy of British UN soldiers near Rogatica. The Bosnian Serbs do not hold up their end of this agreement.

• Huge lines of people in front of the Croatian Embassy wait for visas.

• A bus from Visoko arrives with 87 passengers.
• The Iranian Embassy opens.

• "The Guardian": "The destruction of Sarajevo as an ideal, the concept of Sarajevo, makes captives of us all."

• Vienna: Ongoing negotiations between Muslims and Croats over the constitution of the Federation of BH.

• UNICEF report on "Children and War in Bosnia": 79% of children have seen a wounded person, 55% of children have been shot at by a sniper; 96% of children have been shelled, 23% of children think that life has no value, 29% of children do not have feelings of sadness, 34% children have nervous stomach problems.
• Geneva, May 13th, 1994. In Geneva, a new round of peace negotiations starts.

• The new mayor of Sarajevo, Tarik Kupusovic, goes to Venice to mark the establishment of its sister city status with Sarajevo. He brings with him seven children from Sarajevo, all of them of different nationalities.

• Vienna: A document on the constitution of the Federation between Muslims and Croats is signed
• The event "Days of the National Museum" takes place in Sarajevo.
• Because of the open roads and larger supplies, prices in the market are dropping. Problems with the exchange rate due to a lack of small bills and coins. Until now, people did not use these because of the high prices at the markets; now there is a lack of small change.

• The administration of U.S. deals on three levels: 1. With the general public, 2. with the Arabs, 3. with their European allies.
• A Joint Staff is formed for the establishment of a federal army.
• Huge mass of vouchers circulates on the market, which dictates the price of the Deutsch mark. 1 DM. = 1 million bh vouchers

• Street stalls with books no longer exist - they're now a fantasy amid the current terror. An Encyclopedia cost 1 egg; today an Encyclopedia costs 5 eggs.

• The amount of $44,000 in ransom money is paid to the Bosnian Serbs for the release of imprisoned French soldiers.

• The U.K. will withdraw their troops if the warring parties do not reach an agreement within eight weeks. "The Muslims need to admit defeat," says Douglas Hogg.

• In Sarajevo water rationing is in effect. An appeal is sent to the citizens: "Do not wash carpets, do not water gardens!"
• Goats appear on Sarajevo trams. The goat has proven to be very useful for survival in Sarajevo.
• Jacqueline Onassis dies.
• France: French intellectuals lead an election campaign for the European Parliament under the slogan: "Europe begins in Sarajevo." A "List for Sarajevo" is formed. Bernard-Henri Lévy: "European values are being buried in Sarajevo."

• The first gas station reopens.
• Veterans of the Second World War lay flowers at the bust of Tito, on the occasion of his birthday.

• The Bosnian Serbs shoot at the bus to Visoko. A woman is killed but UNPROFOR manages to protect the bus.
• The U.S. Senate proposes airstrikes. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is against the attack, as is France.
• Geneva: agreement on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina: 51% of the territory to the Federation, 49% of territory to the Bosnian Serbs.
• Dobrinja: Bosnian Serbs fire on a bus with passengers. The decision is made for UNPROFOR soldiers to ride on buses with passengers on the "blue routes."

• General Michael Rose: "This is a stalemate: the Serbs in the long run are losing the war, and the Muslims cannot reclaim the territory."
• Departure of convoy for Belgrade is expected : Passengers may bring only two bags, not weighing more than 15 kg., and no more than 1,000 DM in cash

• Water: no water in the city due to excessive spending on garden irrigation and washing carpets.
• Alexander Solzhenitsin returns to Russia after 20 years in exile.

• The "Botanical Garden", re-opens after two years. Museum workers have saved it from woodcutters during severe winters.

• Mariofil Ljubic appointed for president of the Constituent Assembly of the Federation.

• French intellectuals abandon the idea for the "List for Sarajevo."
• Marketplace: Chicken is cheaper than cabbage; cabbage is 8 DM.
• World No Tobacco Day

Cultural survival

The besieged city defends itself by culture and thus survives. Groups and individuals create whatever they used to create before the siege In impossible circumstances they produce films, write books, publish newspapers, produce radio programs, design postcards, stage exhibitions, performances, make blueprints for rebuilding the city, found new banks, organize fashion shows, shoot photographs, celebrate holidays, put on make up... Sarajevo is the city of the future and of the life in the post-cataclysm. In it on the ruins of the old civilization a new one is sprouting, an alternative one, composed of remains of urban elements Sarajevo lives a life of futuristic comics and science fiction movies.


There are several design studios and groups in the city. The most prominent are the Studio „Trio“ managed by Bojana and Dado Hadžihalilović, who have created and produced a collection of posters and postcards of wartime motifs with reference to pop-art works, and Amra Zulfikarpašić who designs posters for newly established firms and exhibitions.
The Studio Zulfikarpašić has designed for the „Survival“ project a new game, The Sarajevo Darts. The players of the game are supposed to throw darts at the targets on the Olympic map of the city.


Before the war the Skenderija building was a cultural, sports and shopping youth center. One wing of the building - the Youth Hall - was burnt down. In the former “Bosna” club basketball court “small” soccer tournaments were held. The underground part of the Skenderija functioned as a shopping center in whose coffee shops the citizens could meet safe from shelling while its boutiques sold the clothes from 1992. The rest of the building was surrounded by barbed wire and housed UNPROFOR French battalion.