By Zana Karkin
Imagine a time when humans lived in harmony with nature, when the air was filled with the sweet scent of wildflowers and life was quietly fulfilling. This was the world of the Butmir people whose rich legacy we celebrate today as it drives us to reconnect with our creative selves.
Captured by Ajla Salkić/zidajnerka
In collaboration with the ever-effusive Kemil Bekteši, we are proud to present our new spring/summer unisex clothing collection that celebrates the ancient Butmir culture.
Weaving together the threads of history, Kemil has created a tapestry of colors, patterns, and textures that speak to the soul and stir the imagination. From shirts and pants to totes and digital illustrations, together we have developed a collection that conveys the timeless beauty and enduring creativity of our ancestors. Think of it as an homage to the spirit of the Butmir people, whose art and craft continue to inspire us to this day.
As the newest member of our team and a visual artist extraordinaire, Kemil represents what Bazerdžan is all about: a fusion of traditional and contemporary design, talent and commitment, and the preservation of local tradition through contemporary craftsmanship.
If you’ve been following us through the years, you know how important is it to us to be surrounded with people who are artistically stimulated. In that regard, we’re extremely happy to have Kemil with us for the ride and I feel his creative spark really shows in evoking the ethos of the Butmir people and their ways.
Tracing back from 5100 to 4500 BC, the Butmir culture was a major Neolithic culture in central Bosnia, developed along the shores of the river Bosna. To this day, it represents one of the most significant European cultures from the period.
Historical facts tell us that living in these prehistoric times was simple and yet deeply profound. Humans were intimately connected to the untouched world, relying on their knowledge of nature and their ingenuity to survive. It was an era of simplicity, but also of great charm and wonder.
Art was very much a way of life back then, as evidenced by unique and elaborately decorated pottery and anthropomorphic figurines uncovered by archeologists. It is these crafts that got Kemil’s creative juices flowing, warranting a modern-day interpretation.
The unique ceramic products were primarily born out of necessities of everyday life, such as storing food, cooking, and holding water. Later on, they were adorned with different decorative and geometric motifs.
For Butmir people, pottery was more than just a practical vessel - it was a canvas for their creativity and an expression of their connection to the world. Their designs were influenced by the animal and plant life around them, along with the rhythms and cycles of the seasons.
The typical ornamentation included basic pricked motifs of burnished rhomboidal patterns, triangles, angular bands done in a pricking method, and incised designs of concentric rhomboids. Furthermore, spirals shaped like the letters S and C are all typical of phase I of the Butmir era.
Driven and influenced by this process, Kemil envisioned the Butmir One collection which is characterized by slightly oversized, wide-cut, and flowy silhouettes that emphasize comfort.
As the all-important and present element, the earth is interwoven and heavily reflected throughout the entire collection, from the colors and fabric to illustrations based on historically accurate blueprints of ceramics products found at Butmir sites.
A massive part is the choice of fabric, which is three kinds of linen. Seeing as this is a season-specific collection, the use of linen makes perfect sense due to the airy feeling it provides, as well as being sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Since these were dugout settlements (one of the most ancient types of human housing known to mankind), the color palette was based on earth tones, ultimately evoking a warm, nature-friendly atmosphere.
The one line illustrations are inspired by encyclopedic drawings, notes, and studies about the Butmir culture. On one hand, they depict the creative expression of Neolithic people from these areas, while also showcasing admirable knowledge and workmanship in pottery design and production.
While the illustrations are part of the decorations, they also represent a heritage we must keep alive in remembrance with an unwavering sense of pride.
Through these designs, we aim to bring a piece of forgotten history and legacy of these ancient cultures, all the while celebrating their enduring creativity and ingenuity.
So whether you're strolling through sunlit streets, taking a breather in your favorite outdoor place, or simply basking in the glow of the season, the Butmir One collection offers an array of styles and hues to transport you to a bygone world of wonder and magic. Let this clothing be your portal to the past; a reminder of the power and legacy of this ancient culture, all the while celebrating their enduring creativity and ingenuity.
About the artist
Born in 1997 in Belgrade, Kemil Bekteši is a Bosnian/Serbian/Kosovar visual artist. In his artistic practice, he often deals with topics related to identity, geopolitics, and nationality. Find out more about Kemil and his work here.