“The 20th century began in Sarajevo with the Sarajevo Assassination and it ended there – with the siege of Sarajevo. “ – Susan Sontag
Sarajevo Red Line
According to the data gathered by the Sarajevo-based Research and Documentation Center, 11,541 persons were killed during the 1992-1996 siege of Sarajevo. This death toll includes 643 children.
I often find myself trying to imagine how these individuals would have lived today, were they not killed. Most of them were between 20 and 45 years old. Today, they would have been workers, bakers, professors, engineers, football players… They would have had their families; some would have had grandchildren. What is it that they would have liked? What is it that they would have admired? They would have creatively contributed to this city and this country; they would have had celebrated their birthdays and New Years, they would have had their vacations at the Adriatic Sea, they would have gone skiing on Mt. Bjelašnica and Mt. Jahorina,
Sarajevo has never paid a proper tribute to these silent heroes.
SARAJEVO RED LINE is a drama and music poem dedicated to the Sarajevans killed during the 1992-96 siege of their city.
On the 6th of April 2012, SARAJEVO RED LINE was staged nearby the Eternal Flame monument.
From that stage down the Maršal Tito Street, there was 11,541 red chairs arranged in 825 rows (as an audience). This red “audience” stretched for 800 meters and ended in the area between the building of the Presidency of BiH and Ali-pasha’s Mosque.
The program comprised of poetry and music. It was performed by Merima Ključo, one of the finest accordion players in the world, together with the Sarajevo classical music choir, Art Vivo lead by Danijel Žontar, composer and choir’s artistic director, soloists; Ivica Šarić, Aida Čorbadžić, Ivan Šarić, Amir Saračević, Dragan Pavlović, Leo Šarić and Deniza Đipa. The program also included school choirs made up of 750 students.
Cultural and historical relevance
“Sarajevo Red Line” is a special project, one of those that mark the cultural history of a country. This project commemorates, in an artistic fashion, the human losses suffered by Sarajevo during the 1992-96 siege. The siege of Sarajevo was an emblematic event of the 20th century. It has had global consequences and became one of the cautionary events in the world’s history. It was Susan Sontag who said the sentence that has since become legendary: “The 20th century began in Sarajevo with the Sarajevo Assassination and it ended there – with the siege of Sarajevo. “
As an artistic event, “Sarajevo Red Line” belongs to the monumental artistic happenings in the domain of visual, dramatic and music art. This artistic happening is without precedence in the history of art. A concert dedicated to an audience of 11,541 killed persons has never been performed.
11,541 red chairs, arranged so that they create a red river – the Sarajevo Red Line – down the main street of Sarajevo is a highly aesthetic and dramatic visual installation.
This city needed to stop for a moment and pay tribute to its killed citizens since it has never happened that all the 11,541 killed citizens of Sarajevo were commemorated together in such a manner.
Author and Director
East West Center