WE COME WITH A BOW - Exhibition by Šejla Kamerić
27. 09. 2022 (Tuesday)
7PM at Cifte Hammam
The exhibition will be open until 23.10.2022
In a friendly collaboration between CRIC - Festival for Critical Culture and the Festival for Feminist Culture and Action - FIRSTBORN GIRL, for the first time in North Macedonia we have the honour and joy to present Šejla Kamerić, one of the most important artists with numerous international references, with the exhibition titled "We come with a bow". The exhibition is in collaboration with the National Gallery of North Macedonia - "Cifte Hammam", which, as always, promotes the modern concept of open public institutions. The curator of the exhibition is Natalija Paunić.
At the same time, at the opening of the exhibition, we will have a rare opportunity to follow the conversation and presentation of Šejla Kamerić, through which we will have the privilege to hear the multitude of gender, political, artistic, aesthetic and socio-cultural perspectives of the artist. The curator, historian and theorist of art and culture from Belgrade, Branislav Dimitrijević, will guide us through the conversation, but Kameric will also be open to answering questions and comments from the public of the exhibition.
CRIC – Festival for Critical Culture and the Festival for Feminist Culture and Action – First and Female, through this exhibition aim to open a critical debate about the influences, dialogue and polemical perspectives of contemporary art and its responsibility in questioning the important social issues that affect the plural identity stereotypes through which culture has an oppressive and marginalizing role, especially when it comes to reading the gendered, female narrative.
WE COME WITH A BOW - exhibition concept
The upcoming solo presentation of Šejla Kamerić’s work in Skopje looks at the age-long portrayal of women as witches and/or objects. Alluding to the well-known thematic concerns of radical feminism, socialist feminism and post-structuralist views, the exhibition also aims to bring the common, domestic and familiar everyday elements to light and to underscore the issues to which we don’t usually pay enough attention. This intention is set carefully within the new alteration of the show’s centrepiece, “We come with a bow”, which shows an unusually long, thin red fabric that begins as a typical women’s bow-styled underwear decoration and ends up tangling the audience in its own materiality. This gesture – the exaggerated lengthening of the bow, the intentional displacement of the bow to match where the clitoris should be - plays with the idea of an object that is no longer an object at all, but it has its own life, its own agency and power.
The metaphorical value contained in this piece exists in many of the others, in various ways. Many of the works remind us of household objects and typically “womanly” routines: knitting, weaving, working around the garden; being a mother; or even “being” a gift, a present to someone (hence, coming with a bow). Šejla Kamerić uses these processes and states to explore and question the (de)construction of gender, identity, intimacy, and sexuality, as well as the social, political, and economic subordination of women and their representations within the patriarchal societies and neoliberal capitalism. In that sense, the word bow, with this same spelling, could potentially be misread and pronounced differently: in this case referring to bending, a show of surrender, submission, acceptance, also commonly seen before or after a performance. To read the word differently and view it in this connotation also connects to how women exist in the societies we’ve known so far.

The exhibition will include body of work transferred from her latest solo show in Belgrade, “Mother is a bitch”, other photographic pieces (“Embarazada” and “Unknown”) as well as works from the series “Hooked”, “Missing” and “Digital Nudes”. It will also feature a new work, “Rose garden” which will continue the exploration of the formal line already shown in “Hooked”, while taking the containment of the female body in a different direction. 

The crocheted flowers, or more precisely roses, (flowers filled with the symbolic meaning of love, power, beauty, sensuality, mysticism, and sacrifice) immediately bring to mind Hortus conclusus, a motif from Christian iconography, popular during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. As Liz Herbert McAvoy of Swansea Univerity argues: “The 'to protect the women from sin' idea is disingenuous, although ubiquitous. In most cultures, female sexuality is seen as dangerous to men. By locking them up, they 'contain' that threat, whilst at the same time masquerading as protecting women from men”.

The show is curated by Natalija Paunić and is part of KRIK festival for critical culture and Tiiiit Inc. It opens at the National Gallery of North Macedonia's Cifte Hammam in Skopje on September 27th and it will be on view until October 23rd.
Foto Edvin Kalić
Šejla Kamerić (Sarajevo, 1976) lives and works in Berlin, Istria and Sarajevo. She studied at the Academy of Arts in Sarajevo. She deals with themes that emerge from non-linear historical narratives and personal stories. Kamerić focuses on the politics of memory, the forms of resistance in human life, and the resulting peculiarities of women's struggle.

A selection of her recent solo exhibitions includes: 2022: Kunsthaus Dresden Robotron Kantine, Dresden; 2021:KRAK Center for Contemporary Culture, Bihać; Realstage Association, Sarajevo; 2018: Fondazione Adolfo Pini, Milan; Kibla, Maribor and GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst, Bremen; 2015: ARTER Space for Art, Istanbul; National Gallery of Kosovo, Prishtina; 2014: War Theater, Sarajevo; 2012: Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; MSUM Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana; Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah Art Museum – March Meeting, Sharjah; 2010: MACBA, Barcelona; Röda Sten, Gothenburg; Prospectif Cinema, Centre Pompidou, Paris.

Group exhibitions (selected): 2022: Manifesta 14, Kosova; TATE Modern, London; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; Kühlhaus Berlin, MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art, Krakow; 2021: National Gallery – The Palace, Sofia; New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow; Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje; Ural Biennale, Ekaterinburg; 2020: Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf; Boros Foundation, Berlin; Ludwig Museum Budapest, Budapest; Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen; 2019: The Phillips Collection, Washington; Carré d’Art – Musée d’art contemporain, Nimes; Wroclaw Contemporary Museum, Wroclaw; Kunsthalle Darmstadt; Weserburg | Museum für moderne Kunst, Bremen; 2nd Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art; 2018: Haus der Geschichte Österreich, Vienna; Belvedere 21, Vienna; Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb; 2017: Fondazione Nicola Trussardi, Milan; 2016: Hannah Ryggen Triennal, Trondheim; Times Museum, Guangzhou, China; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bukarest; 2015: P21, London; Wellcome Collection, London; 2014: Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg; Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY), New York; 2013: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; 2012: Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju; Istanbul Modern Art Museum, Istanbul; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech.
foto Bogdan Brdar

Natalija Paunić is a contemporary art curator and writer from Belgrade, Serbia. She got her Fine Art degree from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2017, after a master's degree (MArch) in architecture from the University of Belgrade in 2015. She works as a director at Eugster || Belgrade gallery in Belgrade and she also runs a nomadic project space called Voždovačka Galerija, which operates in response to the architecture of different spaces. Natalija is interested in non-canonical approaches to writing, curating and architecture, as well as how critical thinking, art and theory affect our personal lives.

With her curatorial group Voždovačka Galerija, as well as independently and through collaboration with Eugster || Belgrade, she supports and develops projects that are concerned with ecology, luxury, waste, capitalism, accelerationism, feminism and love.

She collaborated with organisations such as British Council, documenta 14, Goethe Institute in Belgrade, LUX Moving Image foundation, Visegrad Fund, Q21 in MuseumsQuartier Vienna, Enclave Projects in London, European Architecture Students Assembly (EASA) in Denmark, Public School for Architecture Brussels, ICA in London (as part of ICA Young), among others.
Foto Tomislav Miletić/PIXSELL
Branislav Dimitrijević is a Professor of History and Theory of Art at the College of Art and Design in Belgrade, Serbia. He teaches and writes internationally on art, cinema and politics of socialist Yugoslavia; on avant-garde art, contemporary art and exhibition histories. His books include Consumed Socialism - Culture, Consumerism and Social Imagination in Yugoslavia, 1950-1974 (2016), Dušan Makavejev’s Sweet Movie (2017), Against Art - Goran Djordjević (2014), On Normality: Art in Serbia 1989-2001 (2005), and others. Since the mid-1990s he has curated exhibition projects that explore site-specificity and context-specificity. His curatorial projects include Good Life (Geozavod, Belgrade, 2012, w. M. Hannula) and No Network (2011), the first edition of the Time Machine Biennial in the nuclear bunker in Konjic. Dimitrijević is also active as a coordinator for cultural policy in the political organisation “Ne davimo Beograd”.
Partners of the exhibition: National Gallery of North Macedonia.
Special thanks to KOMA graphic design studio and Cifte Hammam exhibition space.

Kontrapunkt and CRIC - Festival of Critical Culture are supported by: Goethe-Institut Skopje, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia and AllianzKulturstiftung, Creative Europe.
Partner organisations of Konrepunkt are: Multimedia Institute MaMa - Zagreb, Kulturtreger - Zagreb, Kulturpunkt - Zagreb, Kiosk - Belgrade, Multimedia Centre - Pristina, DokuFest - Prizren, Tiiiit! Inc. - Skopje, SEEEcult - Belgrade, kuda.org - Novi Sad, SCCA - Ljubljana, Maska - Ljubljana, EIPCP - Vienna.
FIRSTBORN GIRL feminist festival // For Years Awake// is supported by: Sweden and The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia.

Partners and collaborators of FIRSTBORN GIRL feminist festival: Meduza, Youth Cultural Centre, Coalition Margins/Skopje Pride Weekend, Kontrapunkt/CRIC festival for critical culture, Helsinki Citizens'; Assembly of Banja Luka (HCA), Private Print and CINIK - Centre for Research of Nationalism and Culture.
The CRIC team - festival for critical culture: Iskra Geshoska, Artan Sadiku, Petar Milat, Tijana Ana, Stanimir Panajotov, Natasa Geleva, Gjorgje Jovanovic.
Public relations: Aleksandra Bubevska
FIRSTBORN GIRL feminist festival team: Jana Kocevska, Jana Stardelova, Kristina Lelovac, Kumjana Novakova, Slavica Kjurcinska, Julijana Mladenovska, Dzemiliana Abdulova, Georgi Stardelov and Dino Milosavljevic