Monument to the International Community, Sarajevo

A darkly funny sculpture in Sarajevo, Bosnia.

The monument upon its installation, in 2007.

The city of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, was the site of a years-long military siege. From 1992 to 1996, Sarajevans woke up daily to the sounds of bombs falling on their city, which was surrounded by the Bosnian Serb army.

With no supply lines in and out of the city, the residents of Sarajevo subsisted almost entirely on international food aid, provided by the United Nations.

This food, paid for by international charity and distributed for free was, as you can probably imagine, not of the highest quality. Sarajevans who survived the Siege claim even dogs and cats would turn up their noses at the most common item of aid, ICAR canned beef.

But, starving, Sarajevans ate it. They survived on it.

And ten years later, in 2007, they erected this statue from artist Nebojsa Seric Shoba, cheekily titled “A Monument to the International Community from the Grateful Citizens of Sarajevo.

Today it stands decrepit, a forgotten curiosity, outside the offices of the United Nations Development Program.

Canned Beef Monument Sarajevo
Fallen into disrepair, 2019.

(Post also available in Spanish, here.)

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