Lonely Planet Writer

See the huge mural Bosnian fans created in Sarajevo to honour David Bowie

A huge new mural has been unveiled in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, honouring the British musician David Bowie, who died of cancer this January.

Bosnian children dance in front of the mural painting of David Bowie during the unveiling ceremony in Sarajevo on May 28, 2016. The mural is a result of a four-month work of a Sarajevo's group of artists led by Vedad Trbonja. According to its creators, this is the largest mural in the world, dedicated to British rock legend, David Bowie who passed away on January 10, 2016. / AFP / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Bosnian children dance in front of the mural painting of David Bowie during the unveiling ceremony in Sarajevo on May 28, 2016. (Photo credit ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The mural is 13 metres high and 10.5 metres wide, painted on a ruined building on the city’s university campus, close to a street that was known as ‘Sniper Alley’ during the Bosnian War. The mural portrays several of Bowie’s image transformations and bears the slogan ‘Fashion changes, but you’ll always be my heroes’, paying tribute to Bowie’s hits ‘Fashion’ and ‘Heroes?’ It is intended to reflect the way that Bosnia has changed since the end of the war in 1995.

Bosnian artist Vedad Trbonja stands in front of the mural painting of David Bowie during the unveiling ceremony in Sarajevo on May 28, 2016. The mural is a result of a four-month work of a Sarajevo's group of artists led by Vedad Trbonja. According to its creators, this is the largest mural in the world, dedicated to British rock legend, David Bowie who passed away on January 10, 2016. / AFP / ELVIS BARUKCIC (Photo credit should read ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Bosnian artist Vedad Trbonja stands in front of the mural painting of David Bowie during the unveiling ceremony in Sarajevo on May 28, 2016.
 (Photo credit ELVIS BARUKCIC/AFP/Getty Images)

The idea to create a Bowie mural was originally suggested by local musician Vedad Trbonja, who sees Bowie as his ‘spiritual father’. The project was supported by thousands of Bosnian Bowie fans, as well as some of Bowie’s coworkers. Two local artists collaborated to create the mural, with Marvel comics illustrator Enis Cisic creating the design and painter Zoran Herceg taking a month and a half to turn it into a huge mural.

Though Bowie never visited Sarajevo, the group behind the mural believe he was moved by the suffering of Bosnians in the war. The musician bought a 1994 painting entitled Croatian and Muslim by the war artist Peter Howson, which depicts a Bosnian Muslim woman being raped.

Adnan Conor, a spokesman for Bowie Team Sarajevo said: “This is a way to pay tribute to Bowie as an artist and humanitarian and immortalise him in the town that never got a chance to host him.” A crowd of several hundred people attended the inauguration of the mural on Saturday, to the sounds of Bowie’s Space Oddity.