Perceptions is a series of five exhibitions that focusses on the work of women artists. Each exhibition comprises a core group of 24 works by 14 female artists from the British Council Collection, shown alongside works by artists local to each venue. The themes of these ambitious and innovative exhibitions have been conceived by the curators from each of the five exhibiting museums, from across the Western Balkans.

History of Project

Perceptions builds on the recent series of successful British Council exhibitions in the Western Balkans region, Henry Moore’s The Printmaker, 18 April 2013 – 30 May 2015 Damien Hirst’s New Religion, 2011 – 2016 and most recently Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences in 2017. It has been developed from a core list of works from the British Council Collection to form the basis of an ambitious exhibition at each venue, where the host collections’ own works or those borrowed from local artist’s, will be shown alongside work by, amongst others, Sarah Lucas, Lubaina Himid and Tracey Emin.

Museums and Galleries taking part in Perceptions

  • National Museum, Montenegro – 3 July – 28 August, Why Have There Been No Great (wo)Men Artists?
  • Gallery of Matica Srpska, Serbia 28 September – 6 January 2019, Women tailored to society?
  • National Gallery, Kosovo, 24 January – 24 February 2019, Currency of Adoration
  • Museum of Contemporary Art of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8 March – 28 May 2019, Set Yourself Free
  • Museum of Contemporary Art of Macedonia, Macedonia, 12 June – 12 August 2019, Perceptions: Engendered

Why Have There Been No Great (wo)Men Artists? at the National Museum of Montenegro, 3 July – 28 August 2018.

Taking its title from Linda Nochlin’s ground breaking essay, the exhibition shows 24 works from the British Council Collection alongside work by seven Montenegrin women artists. From Tracey Emin’s poignant embroidery Something's Wrong which subverts the traditional female nude, to Sarah Lucas’s witty photographic self-portraits featuring fried eggs and fish, to Anthea Hamilton’s playful and humorous legchair sculpture, the exhibition demonstrates the power and invention of work by women artists.

Invention is equally apparent in the work of the Montenegrin artists:  Gordana Kuč’s laddered and worn nylon stockings stretched over paintings in 100 Sonnets (2017), the paintings, sculptures and texts in Jelena Tomašević’s Mixed Memories (2017) and the medication used in Adrijana Gvozdenovic’s Drug-on City (2013). This exhibition is a unique opportunity to experience a wide range of work from contemporary artists from the Western Balkans and Great Britain shown together for the first time. 

Exhibiting artists

UK Artists

British Council Collection Artists

  • Laura Aldridge
  • Helen Chadwick
  • Tracey Emin
  • Anthea Hamilton
  • Celia Hempton
  • Lubaina Himid
  • Abigail Lane
  • Camilla Løw
  • Sarah Lucas
  • Elizabeth Price
  • Clare Strand
  • Gillian Wearing
  • Rachel Whiteread
  • Madame Yevonde

Montenegro, Local Artists

  • Adrijana Gvozdenović
  • Anka Burić
  • Gordana Kuč
  • Jelena Tomašević
  • Irena Lagator Pejović
  • Lenka Đorojevic
  • Brigita Antoni

Women tailored to society? Gallery of Matica Srpska’s, Serbia, 28 September – 6 January 2019

By contrasting works by British Council Collection artists with those by 19th and 20th century Serbian artists from the Gallery of Matica srpska’s collection – this exhibition questions the (re)presentations of women and their role in society both in the past and today. The composition of Gillian Wearing’s The Garden seems superficially similar to Ivan Tabaković’s Woman at the Window – but with very different implications. Gillian Wearing’s sitters are very much in control of their own image while Ivan Tabaković’s are displayed for the male gaze. Sarah Lucas’s and Zora Petrovic’s self-portraits both exude a confidence at odds with women’s precarious role in society, as does Katarina Ivanović’s portrait of Anka Topalović b. Nenadović, 1837 – the first known female portrait painted by a woman. 


Film from Opening 




Novi Sad (works from collection, Gallery of Matica Srpska)

  • Danica Jovanovic
  • Zora Petrovic
  • Ivan Tabaković
  • Milan Konjović
  • Sava Petrovic
  • Marko Zavišić
  • Djordje Jovanovic
  • Sava Sumanovic
  • Ljubica Sokić
  • Petar Dobrović
  • Ana Beslic
  • Nadezda Petrovic

National Gallery, Kosovo, 24 January – 24 February 2019, Currency of Adoration

Kosovo (invited local artists & works from Collection)

  • Alije Vokshi
  • Alketa Xhafa Mripa
  • Rudina Xhaferi
  • Zake Prelvukaj
  • Arbana Hajredinaj
  • Flaka Haliti

Museum of Contemporary Art of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina, 8 March – 28 May 2019, Set Yourself  Free

  • Banja Luka (Collection works)
  • Sandra Dukic        
  • Borjana Mrdja
  • Biljana Gavranovic
  • Svetlana Salic
  • Vessna Perunovich
  • Nives Kavuric Kurtovic
  • Kosa Boksan
  • Marija Dragojlovic
  • Kata Mijatovic
  • Margareta Kern

Museum of Contemporary Art of Macedonia, Macedonia, 12 June – 12 August 2019, Perceptions: Engendered

Macedonia (works from collection)

  • Monika Moteska
  • Mirna Arsovska
  • Iskra Dimitrova
  • Verica Kovacevska
  • Hristina Ivanovska
  • Violeta Capovska
  • Irena Paskali
  • Zhaneta Vangeli
  • Aneta Svetieva