The “mystery man” who has drawn attention to himself over the last few days wearing all black and a theatrical face mask in downtown Sarajevo, revealed to The Sarajevo Times that his aim is to make a statement of protest against “the system”.
Volkan Kurnazoglu, a Turkish national who defines himself on Instagram as a “backpacker”, said he realized after reading media coverage on his activities, that his objective to communicate his ideology to the public could have been more clearly articulated.
“In an article I read about my performance, I came to the conclusion that my message did not remain fully recognized,” Mr Kurnazoglu said.
The Turkish activist provided clarification to The Sarajevo Times that his purpose for standing in costume on the streets of Sarajevo is to make a statement in opposition of “the system”.
“I’m not a supporter of the system,” he stated. “I do not respect it and do not see it as a positive creation. I believe that every system, economic, political and any other, closes us into an unnecessarily small world in relation to a world of natural order that is beautiful and rich. All for the sake of easier control.”
“I dearly decided to no longer belong to it [the system] and began my journey around the world,” Mr Kurnazoglu said.
The performance artist’s decision to dress in black with a face mask, is intended to symbolically represent an absence of identity, which he believes “the system” robs people of.
“The reason I stand without identity, mostly in the places where a large number of people pass by, is to point out one great truth, which is that the system steals our identity and our individuality, making a blind and deaf companion of us”, he said.
Comments in response to a report on his performance art from Klix.ba, highlighted that Mr Kurnazoglu’s intended message to the public was unclear and insufficiently conveyed.
One commenter speculated he was a beggar wanting to save face and another jokingly mused the possibility he was a politician in disguise, however none of the commenters connected Mr Kurnazoglu’s actions with a statement promoting free-thinking or individualism.
Mr Kurnazoglu, who began engaging in street art demonstrations last summer in his home country, wishes for his activism to provoke thought and introspection in the people who pass him on the streets.
“I hope that my performance has made at least one person think about the way he or she wants to spend their life,” he said. “That’s a success for me! Because one by one I believe we can change the world, starting with our life first.”
Mr Kurnazoglu told The Sarajevo Times he plans to stay in Bosnia for another two months, continuing his activist endeavors whilst engaging in volunteer work in a village.
He did not comment inquiry of how his “world tour“ is being funded.
Written by Miya Yamanouchi