Photography series Fearless Youth is based on the eponymous, unpublished autobiography of my grandfather Hasan (1928–2011) in which he recalls, among other things, his experiences in World War II. His upbringing in a Muslim village in Bosnia and Herzegovina (at the time Yugoslavia) was abruptly interrupted when he, following in the footsteps of his older brothers, joined the fascist Ustashe army in which he served from 1943 to 1945.
Following my grandfather’s descriptions, maps and routes and using his book as a compass, I travelled 1800 km through Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia to visit the places he describes, burdened by history and marked by traumatic events. Through the act of photography, they became personal monuments of our relationship, a meeting point of the past and the present.
Like an unwanted family heirloom, the past is passed down from generation to generation, we are born into it and we carry it even if we never witnessed it. Using archival material along with the landscapes and self-portraits I am weaving a map of intertwined personal and collective history to establish a dialogue with my late grandfather’s past, a past that is inevitably mine.