Aljoša Buha – Bijeljina: Musician, economist and painter waiting for his economist education to pay off


I gave some thought to the introduction of this versatile artist. Namely, Aljoša Buha is a painter, and his first independent exhibition, presenting around a hundred works, closed just a few days before this interview. He said that everyone started paying attention when he began painting on canvass, although he had been drawing on various materials since he was little. Somehow, the pieces on canvass caused an upturn and made him visible. He prefers landscapes and claims that he can lose track of time when he starts painting.

Aljoša also likes music. He has been a bass guitar player in the „Arka“ band for several years now, and they give concerts often all around BiH. They are also planning to record an album.

Aljoša started on the bass following the example of his brother, who played the same instrument in the „Crvena jabuka“ band, and who was tragically killed together with Dražen Ričl in 1986. And yes, Aljoša too was born in Zenica, so we have something in common J

And a third thing I found fascinating is that he graduated from university with a degree in economics, which might not be all that connected with art, but we are, all of us, multi-faceted in some ways. Aljoša would like to get a job in his profession, and for the art to be his hobby in which he could indulge in his free time.

I am not going to talk to you about what his paintings are like, because it is impossible, but I will leave you a link to his website, where you can see them. Personally, I like them a lot and I understand why his popularity increases with each new painting. Unfortunately, I did not get there in time to see the exhibition in person, but I hope I will have a chance in the future.

Aljoša Buha:

Yes, yes, it lasted since 23rd June till end-July. I removed the paintings a day early, because I had other appointments, I had to leave for a gig. But I had created a circus of a kind, all by myself. First, the promotion was a bit different than for most other cultural events – I started with a gif poster, with a .gif animation, something a bit more contemporary. Then, thematically, there were some more modern subjects, such as, for example, paintings of rock concerts. In addition to ordinary landscapes, I interwove some musical motifs, some more modern art ideas, I introduced clocks on gramophone records. By way of photographs I presented the works I had done on walls, from graphiti to commercials and… I know not what else.

At the opening itself, because it was also hot and stuffy, and because the promotional activities had been strong and the media covered it extensively, and I guess I have some kind of reputation, so quite a few people showed up. I shortened the music part, because my exhibition was in a museum, I wanted to keep it in the museum spirit. I borrowed a record player from a friend and put on the first album of the „Crvena jabuka“, to avoid live performances and all such circuses that would tire out everyone and make them go home.

I though – take your time to look at the paintings, help yourselves to refreshments, talk amongst yourselves and interact, so I can meet people, and I shortened the music part and I only put on the Crvena jabuka record, their first album, very quietly. Then I said, „I am going to make a circus aftewards.“ And, just before the closing of the exhibition, I decided to be the first one in Bijeljina to hold a closing of the exhibition. Milijanko did something similar with the colony this year, but this was for a collective exhibition. While this was, literally, the first independent exhibition that someone closed.

So I organized a little event, I did not want it at the museum, but it was in the Smokvica Cafe – a nice atmosphere, it is easier to deal with the noise and people are much more relaxed than when they come to a museum. That was also a music night. My band created this little tradition to organize a night of musicians, to which we invite musicians from other towns, from all over, as well as the musicians from Bijeljina, and then, all together, we create a colorful event.

How did you choose economics?

Since my sister got an economics degree and then found a job quickly, my folks figured, „Come on, leave it all, take up economics, it will pay off.“ And I’m still waiting for it to pay off.

In general, the idea with this first independent exhibition of mine was to introduce people to my work. After a fashion, so that, when someone mentions my name, people will go, „Ah yes, it’s that painter, we saw some pretty pieces.“ And the idea i also to start with exhibitions in other cities and towns, because, thank God, I finally have a lot of paintings.

Aljoša is a member of the „Sveti Luka“ Fine Arts Association from Bijeljina. They hold exhibitions twice a year, so people met him at those collective exhibitions in which he participated.

I am proud of the association, because there are so many talented painters. If you saw one of those exhibitions, you would be surprised, both by the variety and the quality. It is a bit strange that the municipality does not provide financial support for the association, because we get a lot of visitors to our exhibitions. Our exhibition attracts most visitors. It is a cultural event where the gallery is filled to capacity on the opening day, and overall attendance is rather high.

Music, let’s mention it, because it is important to you. You mentioned that you guys play alternative music?

Yes, for the most part it is the domestic rock’n’roll. It’s something like our foundation. We mostly do cover songs, and only recently we began doing original songs. We lean towards something like reggae, ska, some faster, more relaxed and more cheerful versions. I believe that our album will definitely be cheerful, to help us break out from the pervasive depressive atmosphere.

The „Arka“ plans to dedicate themselves to producing original music, and, as to painting, Aljoša’s plan is to continue painting and, to the extent possible, hold exhibitions.

Still, it is better to see it in reality. All those cameras, they are no use, no matter how I take photos of a canvass, it’s just not the same. It’s simply, when someone stands before a painting, then they can feel the soul of the piece. The camera elides so much. Just like when you go outside, the landscape is different than when you paint.

By Cyber Bosanka

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