Updated: Jul 7, 2022
Honoring our health and the good health of our planet!
It was a bittersweet ending to the season at the Omega Center for Sustainable Living in the Fall of 2019. I parted with an amazing community of ecological change-makers and was thrilled by a personal accomplishment: the establishment of the OCSL seed library.
Having completed my goal at Omega, I headed to my hometown in Europe and then to my ancestral land to work on an environmental art project.
Ever since I have been living in isolation…
I was born and raised in a country that no longer exists. Though I am an urban child, most formative influences on my environmental art practice stem from early, close connections to the wild nature of my ancestral mountaintop land, and the uprootedness caused by the war that tore apart our Yugoslavian homeland.
I am a dual citizen of the United States and Serbia. My bicultural identity propels my creative inquiry centered around the intricacy of social notions of belonging to nature as our "home" - Oikos, regardless of the borders.
After over two decades of professional life in the States, I found myself stranded by the pandemic on this rare visit to my ancestral mountaintop. I’ve stayed alone in a dilapidated vernacular dwelling without electricity and running water, all the while generating the ongoing Earth Calls series. Who would imagine how delicious coffee made with melted mountaintop snow can be?!
The Earth Calls series voices my perspectives on current cultural interactions with the land, highlighting endangered biodiversity. My materials are indigenous prewar staple species such as wheat, wool, wild medicinal plants and water. They are ephemeral, in situ interventions that continue to narrate via lyrical images. Only focus and exposure determine their outcome.
Serbia is a postwar social conundrum with an unhealthy economy and detrimental environmental policies, a leading Black Ecological Spot of Europe. Still pristine, this mountainous land is potently beautiful and fertile, with a disappearing sustainable heritage. There is a great diversity of species set in the beauty of a natural vastness.
There is a local, long-standing tradition of using wild-growing medicinal plant provisions to maintain good health or to heal. Unsupported by social policies these rural traditions are dying out, together with the generational healing wisdom and practices. Each of these wild medicinal plants has a folk tale linked to them. For example, potently fragrant Pennyroyal grows on the highest mountain peaks. It’s a remedy for “broken hearts” and “muddy minds”. Tea from “Iva” strengthens the body so that it “brings one back from the dead”…
Revisiting Serbia after over two decades of nomadic professional life in the States, I’ve experienced a new way of displacement, mostly as an independent, professional female living alone remotely in a patriarchal milieu.
In my experience, support for the land art initiatives is non-existent in Serbia. Ecological consciousness is on rise while activism is obstructed by the power of industrial colonialism, the cause of blazing damages to the natural resources.
As an American art professional on a remote project, my most recent solo exhibition at the local Museum was supported by the NY Foundation for the Arts. Before returning to the States I am also working on my land preservation project Displace Yourself, which I will be writing about in the near future. My recent interview Ones uprooted - always uprooted, with the OCSL elaborates on this project.
I recently formed The Print Editions Series page in order to sustain my practice and to aid in the development of the ongoing project Earth Calls.
If mindfulness to the natural environment speaks to you, please consider enriching your interior with a high quality art print from my the Print Edition of Earth Calls series.
I opted for very friendly prices for a limited time, until August 31.
Your support would be greatly appreciated! And your reflections or involvement in these visions are most welcomed. I encourage you to reach out firstname.lastname@example.org
Mindful connection, growth and exchange on this land is my life dream!
“The fragility of society's structures is well known to Šušanj. She was born in Yugoslavia. Her close childhood connection with nature in a specific location is a basis of her work today. In particular her installations reflect an intimacy with plants and other natural phenomena beyond theoretical understanding. Her interventions in natural sites are effective and original in part because they are simple — not radical, not wrenching — and because they are not intended to be permanent.”
L Robin Rice, Philadelphia art critic
“This is quite striking work overall. You foreground these rather graphic images in the history, politics and culture of the former Yugoslavia.....” LensCulture