On July 17, 2021, Gallery of modern art Brodac in Sarajevo became the meeting point of enthusiastic, young people eager to hear something about biodiversity importance and nature conservation. The “Invazian” exhibition was organized with the aim to raise awareness about invasive species and their harmful impact on biodiversity. The exhibition was officially open from July 17, 2021 and remained available for public until July 25, 2021. Visitors had the opportunity to see the artistic perspective of how the lack of knowledge provides the space for invasive species to spread and leave irreversible consequences on biodiversity.

It was a great honor to host Mr. Samir Avdić, the Minister of culture and sports of Sarajevo Canton who attended the exhibition and showed willing and interest to support artists and ecologist in their intention to raise awareness on this emerging threat to biodiversity but also the citizens’ well-being.

The exhibition was organized within the project Devouring Architecture which addresses the negative effects of invasive plant species on cultural heritage sites, and specifically modernist monuments, in Bosnia & Herzegovina. The project is gathering a group of artists that work with conceptual art and animation and young researchers that have experience in the field of ecology with a special interest in invasive species. By combining scientific research on the impact of invasive plant species with artworks, Devouring Architecture aims to inform the public about the second most important cause of biodiversity loss. Although invasive plants are one of the five main causes of biodiversity loss, the term itself is not known to the general public. Human creates the conditions for their uncontrolled spreading, without awareness of the consequences it may have. Invasive plants thus spread in the ‘safe zone of human ignorance’.

The “Invazian” is a piece of art of the street artist Benjamin Čengić who problematized the presence of invasive plants in BiH in a creative and symbolic way. In this exhibition, Benjamin Čengić and curator Adna Muslija subtly present a lack of knowledge and uniformness about the harmful effects of invasive plants, which enabled their uncontrolled spreading.

“𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑠𝑒 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑎𝑟𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑤𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑠𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑚𝑢𝑙𝑡𝑖𝑝𝑙𝑦 𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑙𝑦. 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑎𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑚𝑓𝑢𝑙 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑖𝑜𝑑𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑡𝑦, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑒 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤 𝑠𝑜 𝑙𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑚. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑑𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑠.” – emphasized the artist.

“𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑛 𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑐ℎ 𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑝𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑓 a 𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑜𝑣𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒, 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑖𝑠/her ‘𝑑𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛’ 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑐𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑎 𝑠𝑝𝑒𝑐𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑐 𝑝ℎ𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 ℎ𝑦𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑝ℎ𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑛 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑙𝑠𝑜 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑜𝑛 𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑟 𝑜𝑓 a 𝑚𝑜𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑛 𝑚𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑒/she 𝑖𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑙𝑢𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑖𝑛𝑔. 𝑇ℎ𝑢𝑠, 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑, 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑦𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑𝑠, 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛, 𝑎𝑟𝑡, 𝑒𝑡𝑐., 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟, ‘𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑙 ℎ𝑦𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛’. 𝑇ℎ𝑖𝑠 ‘𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑎𝑙 ℎ𝑦𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛’ 𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑢𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑚𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 ‘𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑖𝑚𝑖𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒 ℎ𝑢𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑠’ 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑠 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑎𝑠𝑖𝑣𝑒.” – explained Adna Muslija, the curator of Gallery of modern art Brodac.

The Devouring Architecture is a unique project, implemented by the Center for Energy, Environment and Resources – CENER 21 and artistic team REALSTAGE and the main aim is to make this topic more approachable through creative out-of-the-box ways.