The symbol I have chosen is one you may think you know already—a rose. This symbol generally conjures up ideas of beauty and love. But this rose is a rose of Sarajevo. They are all over the city in public areas and are the marks left by exploding shells during the Bosnian war 1992-96, then filled in with red resin. Over 470,000 grenades and shells fell on Sarajevo during the siege; 50,000 citizens were wounded and 10,650 were killed, 1,601 of them being children.
What this rose represents is the death of an ordinary civilian, possibly a woman or child, who was merely standing in the street or perhaps shopping at a market or filling a bottle of drinking water when a shell exploded; it is a sign of remembrance, like our red poppy, and represents the innocents against whom these atrocities were committed.
But for me, it is a powerful symbol for peace and a caution to us all. It is a reminder that human beings “just following orders” will kill unarmed people simply to fulfill the desires of a politician seeking glory, riches, and power, with no regard to the cost to humanity. That war has ended but the problem continues. Yesterday it was Sarajevo; today it is Syria.
I painted the quilt with Setacolor paints and quilted densely in the mortar between the stones. It is based on a photo I took in the marketplace but the rose is a composite of several I saw when visiting the city last month.