Mirza Cizmic grew up in the Bosnian-Herzegovinian city of Banja Luka and went to university in Sarajevo, but has now lived in Finland for so long that he is often described as a Finnish artist. After graduating in 2005 from the Srednja Škola Primijenjenih Umjetnosti (High School for Applied Arts) in Sarajevo, he moved to Sweden to study at the Konstskolan Munka in Helsingborg, and then to Helsinki, where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2016 and his Master of Fine Arts in 2019 at Uniarts, Helsinki’s leading art institute.

His method of painting, mainly using oil paint on primed paper, is highly individual and personal, his way of interpreting the world through his subjective experiences of an artist as an individual. As he explains, ‘As an artist I need to be aware of the illusive borders between art and life, and between art and society, as well as between art and activism. Formalisation of my position in contemporary society is connected with a constant questioning of myself and my role as an artist. My aim is to break the conventional taboos and depoliticise the situation, turning attention to the common humanity of ordinary people.’

His unusual paintings portray what seems at first to be ordinary people going about their daily lives, but immediately the viewer is aware of perversions of normality. As one critic observes, ‘We find ourselves in a painting that has gone wrong, a family dinner that turns into a sexual drama, or an absurd cruelty taking place in the living room just after a cup of coffee.’ And there is humour too, as in the painting of a little girl with her easel set in front of a nude life model, yet who sees and draws a fairy princess complete with long dress and crown.

Cizmic’s paintings have been exhibited in Croatia, Serbia, Taiwan, Ireland and Sweden, as well as regularly in Helsinki.

Mirza Cizmic’s Instagram account, where he regularly shows new work, can be found here.

We are very grateful to our friend Gérard Coron for introducing us to the work of this artist.

Example illustration