COMFORTABLE BY LOOKING DIFFERENT
My name is Alen Kasumović [Kasumovich].
I was born in January 26th in 1991 in Zagreb, Croatia, during the Croatian War of Independance.
I was born with Arthrogryposis. It is described as congenital joint contracture. It occurs in approximately 1 in 3000 births.
Since I can’t use my arms and legs, I’m moving around in a wheelchair, and painting and typing with my mouth and lips - basically, my mouth are my hands.
Being born disabled, (and yes, I don’t have problems with that term, I’ll explain later), deffinitely leaves a mark. Or has consequences… defines you… sets the stage, let’s say.
Going through life, we are thought to judge our bodies. Make exuses for not choosing more.
Personally, I never had a problem with it. With being disabled, I mean. I could say that I was always comfortable by looking different.
As a child, I was always a magnet for people. Kids would just come to me and we would play. This is how I met a lot of guys when I was a kid and we even played football together!
I would be a goalkeeper and we made a deal that my height is the height of the goal. And goal was wide enough, but also a bit more challenging so I have to stretch a little.
And I was always like that - finding possibilities of doing something my way. I never used my body as an excuse for not to live.
For one year I played wheelchair hockey, then that became boring so another year I tried bowling. Next year I was a representative of a student council, then that was boring so I added extra classes in graphic design and drawing, and year after, I studied Japanese for a year.
Also, since I was a kid, I was fascinated by myths and mythological creatures, such as chimeras, centaurs and others, as much as myth of Antlantis and its technology that they allegedly owned - technology that, allegedly, allowed DNA manipulation. Together with mentioned, subjects as UFO also came to me. Cases with cattle abductions and mutilation all over the USA etc. To talk about Atlantis, mythology and UFOs through body and without including the AI and technology development and its merging with body, would be impossible. Cyber punk, SF, VR that migrating into our reality - movies with mentioned subject - are all subjects that I’m interested in.
HIDDEN MADE VISIBLE
Disability never bothered me. Inability to walk, to run, to eat and drink on my own, and all these things were never something I was even thinking off. I was never wondering: “Oh my, oh my… how come I can’t blah-blah-blah?”
What was a challenge was: “the existing views and projections of disability.”
Survival of the strongest mentality. So I had to find my strong.
That is where disability became my disability. I’ve started to use it. I’ve started to explore through it. Allowing it to show me and teach me about life, basically. It gave me unique insights and perspectives.
Don’t worry. I’m not enlightened.
God doesn’t love me or hate me more then He does you.
Disability is, the different and unique format, and that is what I acknowledged and what I’m still exploring.
The topic of disability is about hiding and hidden, for me.
Disability is hidden made visible.
Body as a subject attracts me because of the differences in perception. Body is something that we are all interested into and in the same time we do not think about it as much. We define ourselves with it instead - hidden.
This is the world that I’m exploring and that I am interested in. Subjects that are most present in my work are body and identity.
As someone who is disabled, body is a subject that I can’t escape from and with body comes identity, as we are all used to. Those are the two terms that can’t come seperatly.
Body, not usually as an obstruction but how do we percieve it. How aware of it are we and how - these are all questions that intertwin, as a subject, together with above mentioned subjects.
My disability is a given, my format, therefore my starting point, a point from which I observe not only myself but others as much as there bodies and the perception of it.
Art is something that allows me to communicate and observe. And also to open and continue that communication, to expand it even more. To make and put something on the surface. Starting from myself to myself.
JUST ANOTHER “ARTIST” STORY
As many, I also started as a child. Enjoying drawing - all the time… Painting. Later I've added photography, video and more.
I actually can point out the exact moment when I’ve decided to become an artist - our neighbours used to babysit me and my younger sister and youngest brother, lovely lady - she asked me when I was drawing animals with felt pens what would I like to be when I grow up, I was very sure and just said: Painter!
I graduated at the Fine Arts Academy at the department of Animated Film and New Media in Zagreb, Croatia, in February 2018 in class of izv.prof. dr. sc, Ivana Keser.
BA at the Painting department at the same Academy, 2015 in class of professor Duje Jurić.
Thank You very much for visiting my website!
Alen Kasumovic, mag.art.
Virtual Exhibition of Artists of Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU), 2020. “Digital Art”
Virtual Exhibition of Artist of Croatian Association of Artist (HDLU), 2020. The “Challenge of Freedom”
SWISSARTEXPO - The Walk of Art / SBB Event Hall / Zurich, Switzerland
One Self / 66th Floor of the One World Trade Center / New York
The Art of Creation / Patchogue Arts Council / New York
Labour Day Incubator: “I am...” / Decumanus Gallery / Krk, Croatia
The Artbox.Project New York 1.0 / Armory Artweeks / Art Quartier Chelsea / New York
The Artbox.Project Basel 1.0, / Euroairport Basel / Basel, Swiss side
12th Erste Fragments / Kranjcar Gallery / Zagreb, Croatia
Body and Soul / ESSL Museum / Klosterneuburg, Austria
Student Biennale of Photography / Novi Sad, Serbia
Diversity of Voices / ESSL MUSEUM / Klosterneuburg, Austria
1st Student Biennale, 'Selfportarit' / Gallery Waldinger / Osijek, Croatia
ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2015, 'Nominees' Night / “NO” Gallery - Museum of Contemporary Arts / Zagreb, Croatia
32nd Youth Salon, ‘Venientes’ / Ring Gallery - HDLU / Zagreb, Croatia
6th Biennale Zapresic of Watercolour / RAZVID Gallery - POU / Zapresic, Croatia
“A View into my Everyday Life from the Perspective of Sitting” / Caffe &TD, Student Centre / Zagreb, Croatia
12. Erste Fragments, Kranjcar Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, 2016
'Collector's Invitation - ESSL ART AWARD CEE 2015' – Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia, 2015
Virtual Exhibition of Artists of Croatian Accociation of Artists (HDLU), 2020.
Virtual Exhibition of Artist of Croatian Association of Artist (HDLU), 2020.
From Different Perspective was an exhibition held in Gallery of Faculty of Teacher Education in Zagreb, Croatia.
The exhibition was organized by Association IMAGINE and Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, Croatia.
The exhibition was held in Salus Gallery in Ljubljana, Slovenia, from November 5th to November 30th.
This was an exhibition of Croatian artists and members of the VDMFK.
Patchogue Arts Council is excited to announce The Art of Creation, PAC’s first international exhibition curated by Bruna Justinić, art historian and independent curator – Croatia, John Cino, sculptor and curator Patchogue Arts Council – USA Beth Giacummo artist and Patchogue Arts Council Executive Director – USA.
The Exhibition was opened from September 8th till October 21st, 2018.
In 2018 Department for Expertise, Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of People with Disabilities, (ZOSI in Croatian), in cooperation with Ministry of Labor and Pension System re-launched the award for employers who pay special attention to employment of people with disabilities. Together with Croatian Association of People (SOIH in Croatian) with Disabilities, the Croatian Employment Service, the Croatian Employers' Association, the portal My Job and the Institute for Market Development.
The winners in each category were presented with plaques and paintings by Alen Kasumovic, an artist with disability.
The exhibition is organized as a part of the eighth „Prvomajski Inkubator“ / „Labour Day Incubator“ Festival, which celebrates Labour Day and deals with subjects that portray the current state of the job market, the economy, as well as the production and service sector, etc.
Out of eight hundred received artworks from fifty countries from around the globe, fifty-five have been chosen.
The Armory Art Weeks in New York are considered to be one of the most important art events in the international art market. Every year in March, artists, art collectors, gallery owners and many celebrities meet in New York during these days.
The ARTBOX. GALLERY has very good contacts in the New York art scene, where the ARTBOX. PROJECT is supported widely. The good connections have made it possible for the ARTBOX.GALLERY to rent a very well-known and renowned gallery for two weeks during the Armory Art Weeks in the most important art district of New York.
I graduated in February 2018 at the Fine Arts Academy in Zagreb at the department of Animated Film and New Media.