1965, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina
Down There Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, 1995 – ongoing
Series of 3 photographs, 30 x 42 cm
Acquisition: Gift by the artist
Reference: 05275 (1)
Nihad Nino Pušija is a photographer now based in Berlin. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in 1965, he studied journalism at the city’s university. Subsequently he worked as a trainee photojournalist and photo illustrator for the Bosnian independent daily newspaper Oslobodjenje in Sarajevo. Before moving to Berlin in 1992, he worked on photo projects and studied in England, Belgium, Italy and the United States. In 1994 he was at the helm for the project ‘Zyklop foto fabrik’ (Cyclops Photo Factory) in Germany, which involved a group of young artists who were forced to abandon their studies because of the Yugoslavian war. In the project, which was supported by Kunstamt Kreuzberg and NGBK (New Society of Fine Art), they explored the themes of Bosnia, refugees, conflict resolution, integration and Roma in Europe. Pušija attended Marina Abramović’s classes at the Academy of Arts in Braunschweig in 2001, and exhibited in Paradise Lost, the 1st Roma Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007.
He chose to live and work in Berlin because he found there was no other metropolis in the world in which two divided halves were trying to grow back together. Trying to capture both the division and merging of the Eastern and Western Blocs, he explores Berlin as a microcosm of streets, food stands and park benches – as change is in progress steadily. In this context, the faces inhabiting the pictures become projections of events. He considers photography to be a medium for (re)gaining one’s identity and self-image, both for himself as an artist and for his subjects.
Aiming to communicate his own experiences as part of a whole, his portraits of Roma people make them and their unique personal stories the focus of attention. These photographs of individuals become defining documentaries for whole groups of people. Pušija’s artistic goal is to seek out microcosms where he lives and works, so that the resulting photographs defy the vague generalisations of his surroundings and daily life.