Ray of sunlight

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2Lt. Ilario Tancon
First published in
SFOR Informer#152, November 21, 2002

The SFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina means patrolling a wide area in order to guarantee a safe and secure environment. But the presence of soldiers sometimes goes beyond military activities. That is what the Italian Battle Group tried to do with "Ray of Sunlight" ("Spazi di luce" is the Italian title). An art exhibition, organised in co-operation with the "City of Sarajevo Museum" and the "International Multireligious and Intercultural Centre" took place from the 2nd to the 6th of November 2002 at Tito barracks.

The subject was the multicultural and multireligious city of Sarajevo. The exhibition, born from an idea of Monsignor Sandro Capraro, Colonel Chaplain of the IT BG, opened on Nov. 2, in the presence of some representatives of local culture, religion and politics. The following day, the exhibition was visited by many representatives of the International Community, including COMSFOR, Lt. Gen. Ward, on the occasion of the Italian Army Celebration Day.
Working together
The idea of SFOR organising an art exhibition about Bosnia's cultural and religious roots - says the IT BG commander, Colonel Gianfranco Rossi - has gathered consent and even enthusiasm within the local community. It is an opportunity for the Bosnian people and soldiers of the Italian Battle Group to work together. The co-operation with the "City of Sarajevo Museum" has enabled the display of works of historic-artistic value and other objects of everyday life within Tito Barracks.
A multicultural exhibition
Among the exposed works we can admire subjects of Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim and Jewish culture. In particular, Hannuka's lamps, Ester's book, a copy of the famous Sarajevo Hagadah, a Psalm book printed in Cologne in 1770, a handwritten Koran of 1809, a late XIX century calligraphic composition threaded on silk and a small triptych preserved in a pliable wooden shrine. There are also many valuable paintings representing famous people and series of old traditional dresses.
"Spazi di luce" has been a groundbreaking cultural initiative which enabled the co-operation of different races from this multicultural country. City of Sarajevo Museum's director, Mrs Mevlida Serdarevic underlined her satisfaction with the participation of the Italian Battle Group and hoped that the exhibition could be presented at other locations in Sarajevo and across Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A small publication has been made by WO2 Andrea Lombardo and Alpine Marco Marin. It collates some sketches of Bosnian history and images of Sarajevo, capital of the country since Ottomans times.
Between Nov. 4 and Nov. 6, representatives of the different religions in Sarajevo, held conferences to make Italian soldiers aware of the cultural, religious and social "mosaic" that is Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Related link:
Nations of SFOR: Italy

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Photos: WO2 Andrea Lombardo

The art exhibition was well organised.

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A view of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the 19th Century.