Bileća Lake, Orah, Bosnia-Herzegovina

KAMEN is located in a quiet rural area overlooking Bileća Lake on the outskirts of Orah, a village that is home to just a few families in eastern Bosnia-Herzegovina along the border with Montenegro. It is neighbor to a 14th century Orthodox monastery, where nuns continue the practice icon painting.

In 1968, when the lake was constructed to provide hydroelectric power to the region, five villages were flooded. The villages’ houses, churches and graveyards, as well as the remains of a Roman villa with floor mosaics ended up under water. In the late summer, when the water levels lower, the ruins of flooded villages become revealed and possible to walk through. When the lake levels are particularly low, two small islands in the middle of the lake that can be seen from the front terrace of the residency, become hills that can be reached on foot.

The seasonal changes and the cultural responses to the seasons make Orah an exciting and inspiring location, to which KAMEN aims to connect in its day-to-day life. In the region there are many towns, ancient sites, cultural ceremonies, dam projects, caves, sinkholes, and underground rivers to visit. We foster a unique ecology, which is communal, and intimately connected to its surrounding and region.

Sustainability

The residency is focused on creating self-sustaining and regenerative circumstances for both the community and the landscape. Our fruit orchard and vegetable garden bears more than we alone can eat. We love making fresh juices, liquors and ferments. Aside from what we grow, nearly all our food is organic and local. We plan to start beekeeping and continue cultivating more of our own provisions.

Address

Orah, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Google Maps coordinates 42.815860, 18.417979

Partners

By means of strategic introductions made throughout each residency period, KAMEN assists resident fellows in making meaningful connections and engaging in intercultural collaborations with a diversity of local constituencies, as appropriate to each artist’s discipline and particular interests.

KAMEN has been forming collaborations with different local cultural institutions and art associations and projects. At this point we have several partners in Trebinje, the nearest city, just 15 km away: Gallery KC – Cultural Centre Trebinje, the Academy of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Herzegovina, with its team of anthropologists, ethnologists and archeologists. Residencies can be concluded with a presentation at the gallery or the museum. Also, residents can propose workshops or lectures/performances at the local Academy of Fine Arts or high schools. 

We also work with the local mountaineering society and geologists, especially the Devon Karst Research Society and their “Proteus Project in the Trebišnjica River Basin“. Together with environmental scientists, biologists, speleologists and volunteers from a variety of disciplines, we have been collecting data on the region’s rare and intricate cave systems and their associated fauna species. 

As well our circle of partners includes smaller associations that practice for instance traditional craft (weaving, crochet, embroidery), singing, dancing and manufacturing musical instruments.

Residents are encouraged to engage or collaborate with these local communities, organizations, ecosystems and materials in whatever way seems fit to their project.