When he found himself living in Kigali, Rwanda while art directing Ni Nyampinga a magazine for an NGO, east London-based graphic designer, art director and photographer Tom Skipp was struck by the impact of genocide on the Rwandan people. In an unlikely twist, the experience ended up taking Tom to Bosnia on a photographic voyage to Bosnia.
“My friend Monika Orpik planned to attend a conference on Memory in Times of War in Sarajevo, then to travel on to villages around Bosnia and follow the peace march where she was carrying out her own photographic project,” Tom tells It’s Nice That. “As I looked into the Balkan war and the genocide upon Muslims in Bosnia it resonated with an ongoing project I’m doing in London called Welcome to Briton. I had to go and see what had happened and what the situation in Bosnia is now.”
Once there, Tom documented the annual peace march that commemorates the 15,000 men who walked 63 miles from Srebrenica to Tuzla to escape Serb persecution. His series Bosnia – “The United Nations left…” recounts the three-day event which starts on 7 July and has been held every year since 1995. “The walk and burial ceremony is such a statement of defiance,” Tom explains. “It retraces the steps made by refugees in 1995 to Potočari where the UN pulled out of their base and thousands of men and boys where killed. Bodies that have been found and identified throughout the year are buried here at the end of the march. It’s something that I felt needed to be recorded and shown to people, in the most sensitive way I could.”
“The extent of the atrocities committed was horrific,” Tom remembers. “Bosnia hasn’t yet recovered from this war. Some things that happened are far too horrifying for me to engage with. Sadly today in Srebrenica the current mayor denies that what happened was genocide, and some schools are trying to ethnically separate classes.”
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