Seven is a significant number for Matea Radic.

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This article was published 26/10/2017 (1463 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Seven is a significant number for Matea Radic.

The Sarajevo-born, Winnipeg-based artist and illustrator was seven years old in 1992 when the Bosnian War broke out, forcing her family to flee to Canada.

Supplied By Matea Radic</p><p>7 is a glimpse at some of the emotions artist Matea Radic felt after returning to Sarajevo.</p></p>

Supplied By Matea Radic

7 is a glimpse at some of the emotions artist Matea Radic felt after returning to Sarajevo.

It’s also the title of her brand-new exhibition, which opens at the Graffiti Gallery tonight, Oct. 26.

In 7, which runs through January 2018, Radic, 32, explores themes of identity, displacement, loss and home, inspired by her first trip back to Sarajevo in 25 years.

The works in the show are based on "little things that felt big at the time" and childhood memories.

"The work in the show is about the moment between good and bad," she says. "I was seven years old when the war started in Sarajevo, so I’m focusing on that moment, and that trauma and exploring that."

Radic’s parents have been back to Sarajevo since the war, but she says she just wasn’t ready until this past spring.

"It was really amazing," Radic says of the experience. "It felt like home. It felt like something I’d never felt before. It felt right. I was really scared because I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know how I would feel, or what kind of memories it would bring back. It was everything I needed."

She returned to Winnipeg with feelings and reflections to unpack in her art.

"It was really intense. Right up until a year ago, (leaving Sarajevo) was something I didn’t think about a lot. And then it surfaced. It was a really intense process, making the work."

Radic is not, by nature, a planner.

"When I sat down to make this body of work, there was intention in the creative process. I thought a lot while working, which I don’t naturally do. Usually my art-making is stream-of-conscious, there’s no planning. But with this one, there was intention."

Radic has built a sizable following with her quirky surrealist drawings, which she regularly posts on Instagram.

She often draws women — women living their lives, taking pleasure in quiet moments, or navigating awkward moments.

Radic’s women have exaggerated features and proportions, but are wholly relatable in their very human imperfections; Band-Aids on scraped knees, a sprinkle of aquamarine armpit stubble.

Radic was one of seven artists who contributed to the black and white mural that now covers the New West Hotel on Main Street, done as part of the Wall-to-Wall mural festival in September. Her animation work can also be seen in Royal Canoe’s music video for Bicycle.

She says that working on 7 has helped her process her past. "And there’s so much more work to be done," she says. "I think I just started at the tip, picking away at all the effects that had on me.

"I’m excited to put it out there. It’s been living inside of me for so long." Twitter: @JenZoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti

Jen Zoratti is a Winnipeg Free Press columnist and co-host of the paper's local culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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