He was born in war-torn Srebrenica in Bosnia, so every day is a magical experience for internationally renowned artist Saidin Salkic. The St Albans resident spoke to Ben Cameron about his love of the many and varied flavours of Brimbank.
Tell us how you came to Australia from Bosnia?
It was the place of the greatest genocide in Europe since the Second World War, back in 1995. I came to Australia in 2001 and I’ve been living in Brimbank for around 12 years. I came out with my mum and my sister. I was about 19.
How have you enjoyed the Brimbank experience so far?
For me, in many ways, Brimbank is the centre of the world because of its multiculturalism and its 160 different languages. I think that the example that we set now in Brimbank will prove to be a prototype of some kind of futurist society – the future of the world is diversity.
It must have been a big change, from Bosnia to Brimbank …
I walk to the train station and I hear four or five different languages being spoken. I walk down my street and I smell six different world cuisines being prepared. We take it for granted … but for somebody who has seen the total opposite of that, it’s utter, utter magic.
You’re a painter, musician and a filmmaker – what was the catalyst behind your artistic endeavours?
I’ve been making art for a long time – my first film was made back in 2007. It was about my first return to the place of genocide (in Bosnia), 12 years after it had happened. I suppose at some point you realise it is a way to make a living.
Is it easy to make a full-time living out of art?
It’s not easy, but it is getting better and better. You think about the careers of footballers on TV who kick a ball straight and they get applause from 50,000 people.
As an artist, you can do a masterpiece in your studio and there’s no applause.
But you keep going.
The career of an artist commences in his 30s, later in life.
Any memorable local experiences?
I’ve ran a workshop at the Duke Street Community House with disabled people. We’re due to have an exhibition in November, which is very exciting for me. It was really magical to see them progress and get the sense of achievement. Holding the hand of a blind woman painting a bottle is an incredible experience.
Do you have a particular favourite form of art?
I cannot separate them. On a daily basis, I do painting the most. I get up every morning and go out to my studio and paint. It’s a big garage which I transformed into a studio. I love the fact that it’s here and I can have it as messy as I can. It’s very convenient.
What is the art scene like in Brimbank?
The art scene in Brimbank is very interesting. Big things happen in multicultural societies. The great advancements happen in every field, after many people get together in one space. Great things are being achieved. I’m on the frontline of the cultural and artistic fusion in Brimbank. That’s how you create something new – mixing different things.
Salkic will hold a multimedia art exhibition, Interdependence, from October 27-29 at the temporary art space at Sunshine Plaza. He will also screen his film, Two Nights in Sunshine, at the Sunshine Short Film Festival. He has a permanent bamboo pole art installation in Sunshine’s Pollard Gardens.