In her interdisciplinary practice, Azra Akšamija investigates the potency of art and architecture to facilitate the process of transformative mediation in cultural or political conflicts, and in so doing, provide a framework for researching, analyzing, and intervening in contested socio-political realities. Her lecture examines the intertwined relationship between nationalism, architecture and the body in the context of the 1992- 1995 war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Focusing on mosque architecture, she will show how nationalist extremists seized on cultural heritage to facilitate the long-lasting breakdown of Bosnia’s cosmopolitan society. She argues that the extent and the genocidal nature of war violence has transformed the meaning of the mosque from that of a place of worship to that of the ethnic body of the Bosniak nation.
Azra Akšamija is a Sarajevo born Austrian artist and architectural historian, currently Assistant Professor in the Art, Culture and Technology Program, Massachusetts Institute Technology (Cambridge, USA)
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