The Horse Figure in Mersad Berber’s Works

24 February 2017

Mersad Berber (1940-2012), is one of the greatest and the most significant representatives of Bosnian-Herzegovinian and Yugoslav art in the second half of the 20th century. His vast body of expressive and unique works triggered the local art scene’s recognition into Europe as well as the international stage. Berber belongs to an exceptionally dynamic period of contemporary cultural history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Mersad Berber

The Hitched-up Horse, 1978, Mixed media on paper, 164 x 196 cm.

He led a generation opening up the local scene internationally; at the same time, he was one of the few artists whose works were exhibited in the most prestigious museums and galleries of the world.

The central metaphor of most of Berber’s cycles is the motif of horse as one of the pivotal animals in the symbolic bestiary of different peoples and cultures. Yet, it was not, in Berber’s words, a grand horse, but the working packhorse of the mountains of Bosnia so deeply linked to all paths of life: hard labour and weddings, funerals and wars. The horse in whose expressive power, pain and imperfect beauty one may read the biography of his people.


The Ottoman Bosnia, 2002, Oil on canvas, 80 x 130 cm.

Mersad Berber: An Allegory of Bosnia exhibition took place at Pera Museum between 16 February - 07 May 2017.

Mersad Berber

Mersad Berber

Mersad Berber was born in Bosanski Petrovac, Kingdom of Yugoslavia, on January 1st. He was the first son of Muhammed Berber and Sadika Berber, a well-known weaver and embroiderer. A year later, the family moved to Banja Luka after the city had suffered damage from the World War II.

The Chronicle of Sarajevo

The Chronicle of Sarajevo

Inspired by the great European masters, from Renaissance to Art Nouveau, Berber’s works exemplify the deep, opaque whites of his journeys through the fairy tale landscapes of Bosnia to the dark, macabre burrows of Srebrenica.

Midnight Stories: The Soul <br> Aşkın Güngör

Midnight Stories: The Soul
Aşkın Güngör

The wind blows, rubbing against my legs made of layers of metal and wires, swaying the leaves of grass that have shot up from the cracks in the tarmac, and going off to the windows that look like the eyes of dead children in the wrecked buildings that seem to be everywhere as far as the eye can see.