Dusan Kusmic

Ex Yugoslavia, 1925 - 1990

Born in 1925 and raised within a strict Catholic family, while still in his teens he fought with Marshall Tito’s partisans during the second World War. Surviving some horrific experiences, he found himself in a prison camp in Sicily in 1948. There, traumatised by the suicide of a fellow prisoner and unable to eat, he started to mould the bread he was given, fashioning miniature pairs of shoes. He became so adept at this singular activity that he was able to sell his bread sculptures to a jeweller’s shop after his release. The Irish Red Cross brought him to Dublin in 1950. He lived in a small bedsit in Mountjoy Street, did a few odd jobs and survived on the dole. He befriended the owner of the local vegetable shop who introduced him to a painter that offered Kusmic storage space so that he could keep working. His traumatic experiences as a refugee in a displaced persons camp in Italy and his battles with language difficulties, poverty and social isolation, led him to create works using wallpaper, found objects and even food.

Source: “Art at the edges” in The Irish Times (Jun 13 1998)

© Courtesy christian berst art brut