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  • Balkan Art Scene

Exhibition "Mahala" by Alena Gojak and Nijaz Gojak


For Gojaks, mahala is a cult of coexistence and mutual love of the neighborhood. Nijaz was born in the mahala, and felt an immense need to paint a cycle of paintings for a specific purpose.


"Imaginative painting of the mahala between reality and dream, creates an idyllic atmosphere like a carefree Bosnian fairy tale. Relying on imagination, my neighborhoods are not from the real world. The neighborhoods are painted in another world, or a better world where there is no hatred, malice and envy. Everything is in a free harmony of colors and shapes with bridges as a symbol of connection and houses with red roofs as safe, warm home. Sun as a source of light associates happiness and is an inevitable element in the composition and the sky, with a combination of light contrasting tones and forming one interesting and heavenly story", says Nijaz.


Alena Gojak is a visual artists working with Nijaz. Her paintings are knowledgeable and strong in presenting mahala, from her perspective and in her world of lush imagination.



Letter to the audience


This exhibition is dedicated to mahala. People mostly interpret this term as residential parts of the city around the central bazaar. In past, similarly as today, the neighborhoods had their own fountains, bakeries, their own barbershops, their own small shops. But mahala is much more than that. Mahala is also a way of life with the neighborhood.

In the mahala, one feels as if he is at home, safe, with the smell of food, homemade bread or some dolma, agda or coffee. When I think of the mahala, I hear the laughter and voices of children, the voice of a mother calling her child to come home. When I close my eyes, I see sunny gardens where lazy cats lie, houses with red roofs, open windows, laundry drying, children with a smeared slices of bread, neighbors talking. People visit each other, coffee smell, laughter can be heard…

I feel joy. I feel close to people. Happiness.

Was it a dream?

In fact, through our paintings we wanted to present to you our dreams about mahala, about a life where people love each other, help each other, a place where love reigns…

We hope you will enjoy the paintings and recognize the dreams you might also dream.


With love,

Alena Gojak and Nijaz Gojak



Joint exhibition "Mahala" by Alena Gojak and Nijaz Gojak will open on June 4th, 2021 at 18:00 in the Youth Culture Center (Jelićeva 1) - Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.