Melissa Potter and Mat Rappaport
Belgrade’s sister-city, Chicago is known as the Serbian center of the United States with an unverified, but estimated population of 400,000. Since World War 1, the Serbian diaspora tried to create relationships to a homeland in nearly constant flux through wars, national affiliations, and secessions.
This project explores the shifting context of Serbian experience through a series of interviews with multi-generational artists and curators who describe the conditions that shaped the experiences of Serbs as they made the US their home, and acclimated to a post-Yugoslavian society. Selected quotes from the interviews are paired with images by Potter and Rappaport in their Chicago Serbian neighborhood, and in Belgrade where they both traveled in 2003. They reveal individual experiences that offer a brief window into the ways in which culture and politics shape our interpretations of belonging and homeland.
Dorijan Kolundzija, artist and curator discusses the Serbian Millennial response to a war culture they never experienced firsthand. Image of graffiti in Dorčol, Belgrade by Melissa Potter
Matt Pavich, 2nd Generation Serbian-American, talks about the atmosphere in Belgrade during the NATO bombing of the city. Photo of a mural depicting the Montenegrian coast at the Serbian American Museum, Chicago by Mat Rappaport
Branislav Dmitrijević, curator and critic, discusses work by Mladen Bizumić about a recently renovated Tito-era hotel in Belgrade. Image from JAT headquarters in Irving Park, Chicago by Mat Rappaport