Mersad Berber's Biography

Berber was born in Bosanki Petrovat in 1940. He was educated at the Academy of Fine Arts Ljublijana in the Republic of Slovenia where he graduated with a BA and MA. This European based Muslim describes his work as being strongly influenced by oriental culture which comes from Ottoman - Turkey; his respect for the "Old Masters" such as Piero de la Francesca and Valasquez and also individual Slovenian icon paintings of holy figures. These three elements combine to create a structure to Berber's work which can be either intimate or monumental in scale and proportion.

The civil war in former Yugoslavia had a devastating effect on Berber's life. His house and studio in his beloved Sarajevo were destroyed and he and his family escaped to Croatia on a UN transport plane. In Zagreb he began to rebuild his life and work, although the agonizing memories of the terrible conflict, which he and his family remember so vividly, continue to haunt him and is reflected in more recent works.

Throughout his career and up to the present time he has created cycles of paintings which chronicle events, tributes, homages and dedications that link to his pre-occupation with his personal reality and his view of the centuries; of Bosnia and Herzegovina, of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires and of Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.

The interaction and blending styles, temperaments, schools and traditions is the cultural and artistic focus of Berber's work for he is the grand master of blending of different European traditions-with their authentic characteristics; their histories and their emotive multiculturalism.

His universal style is intuitive and he has had no need to recourse to the fashionable, trendy styles of the late 20th-Century. He is an original and highly individual artist in his own right, an artist by vocation, with exceptional gifts and rich spiritual and historical experience.