Multicultural Man Builds the World: Post-War Sculpture in Sarajevo

Multicultural Man Builds the World by Francesco Perilli, Sarajevo

This is Multicultural Man Builds the World, a sculpture by Italian artist Francesco Perilli, which sits in Trg Oslobođenje, or Liberation Square, in the center of Sarajevo. Two men were snoozing off some early afternoon booze when I passed by, so I only snapped the monument’s top portion.

A 250-Second Sarajevo Timelapse Tour
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Unveiled in 1997, this is the second of four identical works that are publicly displayed across the planet –the first came in Toronto in 1985, the third in Changchun, China in 2002, and the fourth in East London, South Africa in 2006. Cultural anthropologist Matt Webber points out that a fifth was planned for Whittlesea, Australia in 2009 so one would rest on each continent, but funding for that fell through.

I like how peacefully the statue’s metal doves co-existence with the pigeons that call the square home –even if it is a somewhat false narrative of present-day Sarajevo.

In this piece on the statue, Webber also points out that now, more than two decades after the end of the Siege of Sarajevo and end of the war in Bosnia & Hercegovina, Sarajevo is inhabited mainly by ethnic Bosniaks, hardly a picture of multicultural harmony.

That came up in a conversation with some friends a few days ago, about how the figures on the ethnic demographics of the city collected in the 2013 census, the first conducted after the war, still haven’t been made public.

Via Balkan Insight:

The Bosnian authorities conducted their first census since independence in October 2013. After more the two years however, the results have yet not been published due to a methodological disagreement between the statistical agencies in the country’s two entities, Republika Srpska and the Federation.

The ethnic sensitivity of the headcount has led to an impasse meaning that so far the authorities have only been able to share some preliminary results showing the geographical distribution of the population.

That prompted the search for this image, and the opportunity to share again this brief series of time lapses I shot in Sarajevo, a city that loudly breathes and sighs history. The 2min28sec piece is made up of 3606 photos shot from 28-30 June 2011.

The scene list:

  • 1. Shelled building along the Miljacka River near the Skenderija Bridge
  • 2. View to the northwest, Koševo district and Olympic Stadium complex
  • 3. Destroyed senior center, Alipašino Polje (eastern Sarajevo)
  • 4. Ali-Pasha Mosque
  • 5. Beggar on Mula Mustafe Baseskije Street, a lively pedestrian thoroughfare
  • 6. Intersection of Marshall Tito Avenue and Vladimir Peric Valter Street in central Sarajevo
  • 7. Apartment building in the New Sarajevo district
  • 8. Destroyed observatories in the mountains to the south – at right the Orion Observatory built during the Yugoslav period, and the older dating to the Austro-Hungarian Empire
  • 9. Katedrala Srca Isusova (Jesus’ Heart Cathedral)
  • 10. Former Yugoslav (JLA) army barracks, now part of the University of Sarajevo campus
  • 11. View to the east from Dom Policije Vranjače, a former Club/vacation home for police officers
  • 12. Front of the Railway Station
  • 13. Near the Holiday Inn, the only functioning hotel during the Siege of Sarajevo. This is near the beginning of what was known as Sniper Alley.
  • 14. Fine Arts Academy, formerly the Evangelical Church
  • 15. Apartment building in the New Sarajevo district
  • 16. In the Baščaršija, or Turkish Quarter
  • 17. View west from the Žuta Tabija, or Yellow Bastion (early 18th C.)

The soundtrack? City Night Line by Cobra (avec logo panthère)



Today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 760th straight, was snapped on 28 June 2011 in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Hercegovina.




  1. Fabulous collection of images, saved for posterity, thank goodness. Buildings and monuments have a way of disappearing overnight. Some need to go but others are a sad loss.

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