Bosnia’s blindfolds

Developing ideas from research I have started to tie ideas about Bosnia’s blindfolds together.

  • The arm bands lead to blindfolds
  • Coffee brought communities together but later dove them apart.
  • Distant images of mass graves can look like knots


Bosnia's blindfolds research and experimentation
Left: Bosnian Mass Grave image Right: knotted cloth dyed in coffee


Bosnia's Blindfolds Knots Planning
Mind map of ideas

I want the ideas to act rather like a timeline within the piece:

  • Men and boys over 150 cm separated from women and boys smaller than 150 cm.
  • All Muslims required to wear a white armband and hang a white flag or sheet from their homes, so that they could be identified.
  • Blindfolded and with hands tied behind their backs the men and boys were executed, and buried in mass graves.
  • Intermingled and piled together these bodies / parts needed to be identified.


Bosnia's blindfolds Knots Planning
Sketchbook thoughts for finished piece of work
Bosnia's blindfolds sculptural textile installation
Initial coffee and rust dyed sample next to a sample of knotted white cotton
Bosnia's blindfolds sculptural textile installation detail
Knotted white cotton with details
Bosnia's blindfolds sculptural textile installation
Knotted section created from looped (blindfold) sections
Bosnia's blindfolds sculptural textile installation
Test photo in studio space to assess size and visual impact


  • The piece is fixed at 150 cm high as a reference to the height point for boys being selected to stay with their mother or not.
  • White loose arm bands start the piece with details of whitework embroidered family initials. This addition gives a reminder of the personal nature of events.
  • Body width as a reference to a grave, coffin or shroud.
  • Knotted from loops of fabric strips as the blindfolds would have been.
  • Knotted together, intermingled creating a mass of knots each individual. reference to a mass grave.


Within Mass graves, forensic anthropologists found many blindfolds and ligatures. It was noted that many appeared to be very similar. Sent away to a forensic lab in  The Netherlands, Chemist S. E. Maljaars drew up a report for the Criminal Tribunal in The Hague. – item no: ACE70222R2000312540

In her analysis, the Dutch forensic expert showed that the bodies from the primary grave, where the victims executed at that location were initially buried, were transferred to several secondary graves. The pieces of the same fabric were thus found in two or more locations.

The evidence also helped to prove a level of organisation during events and therefore was part of the evidence that proved Genocide rather than mass murder.

This piece is ongoing as I develop it further. I intend to continue with the knotting as well as dye it with coffee grounds and iron.