Asked by a reporter what he expected that Europe would do against the war in his country, a specialist in the hospital of Sarajevo answered; “I suppose Europe will go on holiday as planned”. Yugoslavia, the former popular destination for European holidaymakers was being torn apart by nationalist extremists, not a fight of army against army, but a fight between civilians, neighbors sometimes . They had been indoctrinated with the poisonous thought that they had to act before the other side surely would.

Traumas from the past had been suppressed by Tito during his long reign, but were being exploited by former communist politicians after his death. They eagerly tore open old wounds in order to stay in power and enrich themselves with the spoils of war. And the states of Europe were divided and declined to act until it was too late.

It was terrible, reading and seeing what happened to ordinary people, people who looked just like us, shared the same dreams and ambitions, or simply wanted a little bit of happiness. There were stories I will never forget, like that of the woman who was forced to flee from her home in the night to prevent falling into the hands of  paramilitary groups , (former soccer fangroups turned into paramilitary by organized crime bosses).   In order to sneak away unnoticed in the night, she covered her child’s mouth to keep it quiet, on arrival on the ‘safe’ side she noticed that the child had died because of suffocation.

In my dreams I saw my own children in comparable situations , these dreams haunted me and I had to do something with my emotions. I started on this canvas the biggest one I had ever dared touch. I told myself that it was better to try and do something to document this period from my point of view, than turn away from it and go on holiday as planned.