In Focus

Monday, 05. 07.


The exhibition In Focus continues the practice introduced by the Festival of Tolerance of independent exhibition curation focusing on the issues of refugees in Croatian society. Opposing the omnipresent stereotypical refugee narrative, this year the interest is placed on connecting science and art by way of illustrations, on the one hand, and innovative computer-generated 2D hologram research work on the other.


By documenting real journeys, illustrating traumatic memories, even translating complex research into sequential images, ‘refugee’ comic books became a powerful tool to shed light on individual lives clouded by the global crisis, as well as stories stemming from the escape into the unknown, all until the finding of hope and a new life.  As a response to ongoing media reporting in border crossing points and refugees, the UNHCR Croatia and other NGOs have been examining personal stories, recording the testimonies and aiding refugee attempts at building new lives in quite foreign countries.

Comic books and illustrations have the power to visualise situations and conditions inaccessible in photos or recordings, and their connection with the scientific innovation of the computer generated 2D hologram makes them an excellent tool for depicting the three-dimensional power of thought and meaning among groups as marginalised as refugees.

In Focus turns to positive stories and happy endings of refugees who found salvation in Croatia, and the physical flatness of comic book drawings or illustrations will be deepened by hidden messages, thoughts and fears woven into every single story through a computer-generated 2D hologram by Vladimir Cviljušac.


HELENA KLAKOČAR, academic painter and cartoonist

Walking around Amsterdam in 2015 I saw small fliers that said “FUCK RICH TOURISTS – POOR REFUGEES WELCOME!” For my poster I took a ‘gentler’ version of this slogan. This arrogantly radical message was stunning, it reminded of the Parisian revolutionary motto from 1968 “BE REALISTIC – DEMAND THE IMPOSSIBLE”. I believe Croatia should accept all the refugees, because if I quote the Dutch prime minister Rutte: “Every refugee choosing our country as their final destination is in fact paying a compliment to The Netherlands.” The refugees in Croatia are mainly just transiting, but we should try to persuade them that in Croatia they can get the same as in western Europe. We should also host as many refugees as possible, not only because of empathy, but because of the fact that by helping them, we are helping the unemployed young people in our country.

MILAN TRENC, illustrator, animator, film director, novelist

Since at one point in my life I had to live outside Croatia, I feel these issues and I know how hard it is to fit in a new environment. All my life, albeit less and less, I’ve been a passionate cyclist and I was attracted by the story in which volunteers, in collaboration with refugees, repair bikes. Such community activities are ideal for bringing people together and this is what my illustration is trying to portray.

TISJA KLJAKOVIĆ BRAIĆ, academic painter

Sometimes I paint and then repaint over… What remained underneath still breathes… That’s why I find this new technique interesting.


Printed computer-generated hologram posters are an innovation resulting from the doctoral dissertation of the young Croatian scientist Vladimir Cviljušac, PhD. (Faculty of Graphic Arts, University of Zagreb). He independently developed an algorithm and a computer programme in correlation with the parameters of standard graphic printing techniques, which made it possible to make one-of-a-kind hologram posters using the existing graphic printing technologies. Vladimir Cviljušac presented his innovation in several research papers published in world-renowned international scientific publications.

Printed computer-generated holographic posters are multimedia elements able to store information on two completely separate levels. This means that there are two different pieces of information in the poster, one immediately visible (the grid of the computer-generated hologram – a photo) and the other visible only when light penetrates through the printed interferent structure and, using diffraction and interference of light waves, creates an image in the eye of the beholder (a hologram). The amount and type of information stored in the holographic poster do not make an impact and are not connected with the motif printed onto the surface of the interferent structure.

The application of advanced technologies and technological innovations contributes to the popularisation of science, knowledge and creativity among broader audience.


UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people. UNHCR works to ensure that everybody has the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge, having fled violence, persecution, war or disaster at home. For its work, UNHCR was awarded the Nobel Peace prizes in 1954 and 1981.


Since 2012, the Festival of Tolerance has been advocating the problems of refugees through programs, as well as their integration into new communities. The refugee crisis has resulted in massive waves of migration to Europe. In addition to support from institutions, this vulnerable population needs the respect, acceptance, empathy and attention of the local community. Through our engagement, we at the Festival of Tolerance, together with our partners, implement programs with which we want to encourage respect and compassion in the local community.

Hrvoje Pukšec and Nataša Popović

Expert Associate
Katarina Juras

The exhibition is realized under the auspices and in cooperation wit UNHCR Croatia.