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24th Red Dawns | Meta Krese: “We’re Waiting in Vain”

09 May 2023 > 28 May 2023 You are kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition "We're Waiting in Vain" by Meta Krese on Tuesday, 9 May at 7 p.m., and to the tea party tea party with the the photographer and journalist Meta Krese as part of the program Ljubljana Art Weekend, Friday, 26 May 2023 at 6 p.m at Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto. The exhibition is a part of 24. International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns.

 Events of 24th International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns happen also during the year

Meta Krese: We're Waiting in Vain
curated by: Ana Grobler, Sebastian Krawczyk
9. 5. – 28. 5. 2023

Opening, 9 May 2023 at 7 pm
Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto


You are also kindly invited to the tea party with the the photographer and journalist Meta Krese as part of the program Ljubljana Art Weekend, Friday, 26 May 2023 at 6 p.m.

Surrounded by images, we watched the suffering of people seeking refuge in Srebrenica for several years, hoping that the genocide would be prevented. It happened in front of the whole world. In 1995, in the protected area of the United Nations, Serbian military units led by general Mladić, killed more than 8, 000 unarmed Bosnian boys and men in two days, and drove tens of thousands of women, mothers, grandmothers and children into exile (M. Krese).

The exhibition We're Waiting in Vain is a presentation of Meta Krese's long-term photography project, which documents the stories of widows from Srebrenica. They found shelter in refugee settlements more or less cut off from the cities in the Tuzla Canton in the first half of the 1990s. Some of the settlements that were meant as the first and short-term solution are still standing. The exhibition portrays widows, their children and now also grandchildren, who cannot return to their homes and remain trapped in this temporary, but in fact definite intermediate space.

When attending the exhibition, the visitors familiarize themselves with photographic snapshots from personal stories, which are sorted into sets, linked to individual refugee settlements, and reveal names and stories of female refugees in words. A part of the exhibition is dedicated to the presentation of press material related to the genocide in Srebrenica. Newspaper clippings, numerous copies of letters that circulated among the Bosnian leadership and authorities of the United Nations Security Council since 1992, speak about the fact that the public knew all along what was happening in Srebrenica, and yet no one prevented the worst.

The exhibition fits into the wider context of what is happening in the world, since the situation of numerous refugees is similar to the picture Meta Krese's project presents. Millions of people live in almost identical circumstances: without regulated basic living conditions and dignity. Marked by trauma, they remain without hope for change and the possibility of living in accordance with their own needs and values.

The exhibited project, which was featured in a similar version in the production of the Slovene Club last year at the Miela Theatre in Trieste, poses the question of what war brings and what peace does not take away. By means of it, Meta Krese draws attention to the long-term hardship of the most vulnerable people in society. The author researched their stories in depth and creatively connected them into a whole that carries a strong message against violence, discrimination and ghettoization. In the images, photographs, Meta Krese's poetry and catalogue that was published at the time of the first exhibition, we thus get to see a critical presentation of a problem the world failed to solve and therefore pushed it to the periphery of its awareness.

Widows of Srebrenica otherwise still attract media attention, mainly on the anniversaries of the genocide. The scenes of war horrors are replaced by scenes of the pain of everyday life, their humiliation, their hopelessness. Meta Krese, who has been visiting refugee centres regularly since 2017, adds that the widows still calmly, without hatred, tell their stories and those of their loved ones lost in the war. According to the portrayed Halida Dudić from the refuge centre Višče, 'we have to talk about them, so that we do not forget them'.

They only talk about themselves in order to survive, or at least this is how it seems. Not for the sake of arousing our sympathy, indignation and, least of all, hope that their words, although they will circulate the world again one day, will change anything. Perhaps they find it easier to fill the silence during pain in this way (M. Krese).

Ana Grobler, Sebastian Krawczyk

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Meta Krese is an established photographer who contributed photographs for many books, co-authored monographs, wrote several books, and was an editor of the journal of Slovene photographers, Photography, for ten years. She taught at the Vist college – the department of photography, where she was also a head of the department for a while. She worked as a photojournalist for ITF, the international foundation for demining, Red Cross Slovenia and ISOP, an Austrian NGO. Among others, she received the European award Writing for CEE in 2011, and the award for outstanding journalistic creations in 2006 for the year 2005, awarded by The Slovene Association of Journalists. The Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting awarded her a grant for two projects: Cotton, the story of the textile industry (2016) and for the story about widows in Srebrenica living in collection centres for decades after the end of the war (2019). She was twice short-listed for the Lange-Taylor Prize, Duke University (2018, 2019). She has exhibited at solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad and curated photography exhibitions.


In May (18/5/2023—20/8/2023), Meta Krese shall present herself also in the City Gallery Ljubljana with a retrospective exhibition entitled Have You Come to Stay? The exhibition will tackle migrations, departures and arrivals here and elsewhere in the world. The opus consists of personal narratives of people who had to leave their homes, as well as of those whose dreams took them to other places. Alongside the exhibition, her monograph shall be published as well.



Organization: 24th International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns
Festival graphic image: Hanna Juta Kozar
Curators: Ana Grobler and Sebastian Krawczyk
Co-production/co-organization: Slovene Club (Trieste), co-production in the field of public relations: City Art Gallery Ljubljana (The Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana)
Co-financing:  The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, The City Municipality of Ljubljana
Proofreading: Neja Berlič
Translation: Ana Makuc

Photos of the exhibition by: Nada Žgank.

Hazira, 2018, photo: Meta Krese Mihatovići, 2020, photo: Meta Krese Halida, Višće, 2019, photo: Meta Krese Halida, Višće, 2019, photo: Meta Krese