Photo by Ajla Salkić

Kemil Bekteši (1997, Belgrade) is Bosnian/Serbian/Kosovar visual artist. He completed his master's (2021) and bachelor's (2020) degrees at the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo. In 2018/19 he studied contemporary art at Faculdade de Belas Artes do Porto (Portugal). He was awarded the Golden Badge of the University of Sarajevo for undergraduate and master’s studies, and was named the best student of the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo in graduate and master’s studies. In his artistic practice he often deals with topics related to identity, geopolitics, and nationality. His artistic practice employs a range of media, including perforamnces, works in public spaces, objects, and installations, often site/time specific.

In 2020, he became the youngest finalist for the ZVONO award (YVAA – Young Visual Artists Awards, Bosnia and Herzegovina), and in 2022 he became a finalist for the MANGELOS Award (YVAA – Young Visual Artists Awards, Serbia). He is co-founder and associate of the Gallery of Contemporary Art “Manifesto” in Sarajevo. He lives and works between Sarajevo and Belgrade.

Artist's website and Instagram.

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1. My Dad loves me so much, he let me be an artist, analogue photo intervention, from the series “TIP500”, 2022; 2.& 3. Old blood, 2021 - ongoing, happening, Blood Transfusion Institute of Serbia, Belgrade (Old Blood: The first attempt, photo by Adna Muslija; Old Blood: The second attempt, photo by Luka Milanović); 4. BEKTEŠI, 2021, billboard, Belgrade (photo by Bojan Stojčić); 5. - 7. GGM 20, 2022, installation, mechanical drawings, Gallery of Contemporary Art Manifesto, Sarajevo (photo by Ajla Šalkić); 8. Atlantis?, 2019 - 2021, object; 9. Atlantis?, 2.0 Returning of the stolen object, 2021, Perfomance, two hours, Sarajevo (photo by Ajla Salkić)
Artist statement

My personal background is one of the main reasons why my artistic practice has been grounded in re-examining social, historical, and political structures. Growing up in a state of constant transition between Balkan countries, which have been (and still are) in a status of conflict and perpetual national and ideological tension, my identity was constructed on the very margin of such conflicted narratives. Being a Kosovo, Serbian, and Bosnian citizen all at once, made me think of the cultural, and social margins, gaps, and shadows where alternative realities are being constructed. To bring such realities forward became my subversive artistic agenda. Those alternative realities sometimes meant searching for “common grounds” between the cultures I have been surrounded by, only to state and materialize the common Balkan identity and culture.

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