University of Minnesota
Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies


Vesna Kittelson

Vesna Kittelson grew up in Split, Croatia. She attended the University of Minnesota where she received a BA in Studio Arts and a master’s degree in Design. She has taught at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and currently lives and works in the Twin Cities.

Artist's Statement

My paintings are defined by two driving forces characteristic of the human race: one destructive, to make war, and one creative, to make art. As I ponder the puzzling nature of violence and tenderness in us all, I try to untangle human nature from culture. In my war paintings I find myself pushed into the world of information, decoding and probing the line between authenticity and selective memory. I find that I am comfortable within the complexity of cultural history, but I am uncomfortable with the unfamiliar and dangerous games of political history.

Vukovar is a painting that I made about this Croatian city after it was completely destroyed by war and the failed games of political history. The people, the city, the cultural icons, the environment all are gone. I do not think that I can change anything with this painting, but the question for me is how to speak visually of rebuilding oneself after barbaric violence and damage have taken place-in the visual language of a gentle and civilized human activity-painting.

- Vesna Kittelson

Artworks: Absence/Presence


Vukovar. Oil on Canvas and debris. 79" x158" x 80" (adjustable). 1992


Massacre of the Civilian Population of Timisoara.
Oil and acrylic on paper and metal. 51" x 122" x 8." 1990.

Berlin Wall/Brandenberg Gate. Oil on canvas. 84" x 84". 1990

The Revenge of Memory. Oil on paper. 60" x 74." 1993

War Garden. Oil on canvas. 52" x 116." 1996

Page updated 2013.