Nensi Brailo

Born and raised in Dubrovnik, Croatia, Nensi graduated from the Classical Gymnasium in Dubrovnik with a concentration in culture and arts. She relocated to the Bay Area as an international student pursuing a B.A. degree in Spanish Language and Literatures from the University of California at Berkeley. Following her undergraduate studies Nensi earned a Master’s in Library and Information Studies from San José State University, and wrote a thesis entitled “Librocide: Destruction of Libraries in Croatia, 1991-1995.” Together with Vibiana Bowman Nensi co-published the article “Protecting Our Shared Cultural Heritage: An Overview of Protocols and Projects” in Visual Resources. Over the years she has worked at various libraries including University of California at Berkeley, California College of the Arts, and Oakland Public.

Her CCA MA thesis “Dubrovnik under Siege: Artists’ Interactions with the Old City during the Yugoslav Army Aggression 1991-1992” is based on field research conducted in Croatia which includes interviews with local artists who were inspired by the attacks on Dubrovnik. Nensi’s thesis has been translated to Croatian and published in December 2011 by Matrix Croatica (Matica hrvatska) Dubrovnik branch in issue no. 4 of the journal Dubrovnik which is in part dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the attack on Dubrovnik. Review available in Croatian at .

You may reach Nensi via email at

Recent Happenings:

About Nensi Brailo’s Thesis Project

Nensi Brailo

Dubrovnik under Siege: Artists’ Interactions with the Old City during the Yugoslav Army Aggression

Following attacks by the Yugoslav army in 1991, local artists used the Old City of Dubrovnik—its ruins, boarded-up monuments and shop windows—to create site-specific public artworks. Local photographers documented the destruction of the Old City, raising international awareness to the plight of the Croatian people and the attempt to eradicate their culture. Focusing on three case studies, I examine how the artists of Dubrovnik coped with the circumstances of war through these public acts, anthropomorphizing the city, and at the same time contributing to a new Croatian consciousness as the nation struggled for its independence.The first case study examines the site-specific exhibitions of artist Ivo Grbi´c? on the grounds of his home and studio which had been bombed. Grbi´c? converted this burnt out site into an ongoing exhibition space that drew large audiences. The second case study analyzes the impromptu collaborative public art project by professional and amateur artists that took place during Christmas time in December 1991. The project, which consisted of murals on the Old City’s landmarks and shop windows, was emotionally important to the population as an act of defiance to “break the psychosis of fear.” The final case study examines Pavo Urban’s photographs of the besieged city’s architecture and citizens, which functioned both as memorials of wartime atrocities and as triggers for the formation of a new national identity after the war’s end.

Watch Symposium Presentation

Read Sightlines Article