Opening Semâ Bekirović

Join us for the opening of the exhibition Once an Alien by Semâ Bekirovic



ROZENSTRAAT – a rose is a rose is a rose is very proud to present Semâ Bekirović’s film installation Once an Alien!

In her first feature film, the science-fiction documentary Once an Alien (2022), Semâ Bekirović follows her father Mirza Bekirović through Bosnia and Herzegovina. Together they embark on a search for their roots. But as much as Mirza would like to return, the country that he fled during the Second World War no longer exists. Traveling in a camper van through awe-inspiring landscapes, a picture unfolds of a man with a shattered past marked by migration and trauma. Above all, however, the film delineates the bond between father and daughter, and the importance of imagination and ingenuity to them both. Mirza became an inventor; his creativity functioned as a survival mechanism. The sense of resilience he drew from this he always actively transmitted to Semâ.

Gradually the film blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Personal memories are interspersed with surreal scenes of Mirza in a time travel suit, powerful atmospheric images and semi-documentary scenes in which various locals are interviewed. Each of them addresses a different facet of the concept of time, in both scientific and more magical-realist ways. In these encounters, it becomes clear that Mirza connects with them not because of sharing the same ‘blood’, but through a mutual sense of displacement, a nostalgic longing, and a desire to return to another time. Ultimately, he argues, we are all time travellers.


Semâ Bekirović (Netherlands, 1977) studied at the Rietveld Academy and was a resident at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in 2005-2006. Her work has been exhibited in various venues, including at The Hayward Gallery, (solo, 2010); The Stedelijk Museum (2007,2013, 2015)); Dutch Culture Institute, Shanghai (2010); MoMa PS1 (2012); Kunstfort Vijfhuizen (2016); Marres (2017); Nest (2018); GEM (2019); Garage Rotterdam (2020); Klub Solitaer, Chemnitz (solo, 2020); Into Nature Biennale; Paltz Biennale and the Bruges Triennale (all in 2021). Once an Alien is Sema’s first solo exhibition in a Dutch presentation institution since her exhibition at Museum Jan Cunen in 2013.