US street artist paints peace murals in Bosnia to commemorate 20th anniversary of the end of the war

US street artist paints peace murals in Bosnia to commemorate 20th anniversary of the end of the war
Caleb Neelon's mural Wedding Walls in Berlin (Steffi Reichert under a CC licence)

5 May 2015
Text Alexey Kovalev

A US-based street artist has concluded a collaborative street art project in Bosnia and Herzegovina to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the Bosnian war. Caleeb Neelon enlisted youth from the three communities that make up the federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The project began in late April and concluded last Friday in Bosnia’s capital Sarajevo and fifth largest city Mostar.

Neelon’s project ‘Peace Murals’ employed 40 students from Bosnia’s three main communities – Orthdodox Serb, Catholic Croat and Muslim Bosniak. Together they painted murals promoting trust and unity in a country still deeply fractured along ethnic and religious lines 20 years after the end of the war. “Peace is people working hard and playing hard together for a common cause, whether it is building roads and buildings, taking care of those who need care, or partying in the streets,” Neelon said. The project was supported by local NGO Modus Adolescenti and the US embassy in Sarajevo.

War in Bosnia between Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks broke out in 1992 when Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia. It lasted until late 1995 and left over 100,000 dead and 2.2 million displaced. Today’s Bosnia is a decentralised federal republic comprised of two separate entities – Serb-dominated Republika Srpska and the Croat-Bosniak Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.