Dijana Alickovic is a second year architectural graduate student at the University of Utah. She was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1982; in 1997, due to circumstances caused by Civil War, she immigrated with her family to Salt Lake City, Utah. In May of 2008 she will graduate receiving a Masters of Architecture. Her current activities include working as an architectural intern with Alex Schiel Architects, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity of Utah County, and photojournalism.
Due to life changing events that occurred during her childhood (a four-year civil war and relocation to an unknown country) one of her greatest goals was to build a better future for herself. Because of this drive, Dijana has felt the desire to be involved with improving and positively changing communities of the world and passing her experiences and knowledge onto others.
In 2004, Dijana became a member of the Utah Peace Institute. She was involved with UPI for 2 years, at which time her work with them included: planning events on local, national, and international levels; giving speeches about her life for the sake of awakening youth for the purpose of developing positive changes in their lives; and educating others about the detrimental effects of tobacco.
During her volunteer days with the Utah Peace Institute, Dijana, was also involved with a program called "Teaching Elementary Students through Architecture." This semester-long program, sponsored by American Institute of Architecture, involved Dijana teaming up with an architectural intern fellow. Their goals were to teach elementary children an appreciation for, and the basics ideas behind elementary architectural design. Yet another American Institute of Architecture short-term event Dijana was involved with was "AIA-sponsored Regional/Urban Design Assistance Team." This three day workshop integrated architectural students of the University of Utah with a team of senior architects, realtors, and planners. Their goal was to design a master plan for the city of Pleasant Grove, Utah.
From 2006 to 2007 Dijana was student body president of the local chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. Their main objective was, through collaborative efforts, to enrich communication between local communities and the College of Architecture plus Planning. Doing so not only bridged the gap between the architectural students and locals, it also helped to advance students´ skill and knowledge of architecture.
Dijana participated in multiple local student architecture competitions, three of which were team efforts, the other of which was solo. Of the four competitions, Dijana won three which were named, respectively, "Dentist Office" 2001, "Salt Lake Winter Olympic Memorial at the Capitol" 2003, and "TRAX Mid-Jordan Station Design" 2006.
Due to her volunteer work with the Utah Peace Institute, Dijana realized her desire to use her architectural skills to improve impoverished communities through housing development. Her aspiration to design and build for the underprivileged inspired her decision to become involved with Habitat for Humanity. She is currently assigned to a one year internship with Habitat for Humanity of Utah County. This internship involves helping to build, plan, and use her architectural skills to better the community.
Dijana not only wants to help on local levels, but national and international as well. In July of 2007, while working with the NPO "From Houses to Homes," Dijana spent two weeks in Antigua, Guatemala, building homes for the poor. While working in Guatemala, she decided to start photographing the locals. In doing so, she realized the power of photography and its ability to capture the essence of life and of one´s self.
Through her photography Dijana wants to awaken the world and enlighten others to sides of life they are not aware of. One of her greatest hopes is to, through photography, affect positive change. One way in which she wishes to attain this goal is to participate in fundraising activities which will help to fund, support, build, and give assistance to people in impoverished communities. This is precisely why she is pursuing an exhibition of her photography.
What is the essence of one´s life and place? Is one sad, happy, withdrawn, hopeful, or indifferent? Is the place red, green, or blue? I continuously observe lives and places through the lens until the answer gets grasped onto a photograph. It answers all. There, in such photograph, lies the reason I take pictures of the people and places. I want to awaken and enlighten myself and others to see the essence of humanity: one´s personality, life, and place. In doing so, my greatest hope is to affect positive change.
Film camera is the tool I use to capture lives of people. Camera is a translator standing between me and others. It lets me read their stories and see them in a light that our eyes cannot see, our lips cannot read, our hands cannot touch, our feet cannot walk, our mind cannot grasp. The reason I choose the theme of people and places is because I am a human being having desire to understand, appreciate, and help citizens of the world. I want to awaken and enlighten others for the sake of understanding, appreciating, and assisting people of our world community; want people to realize our existence depends on and is enriched by each other. Joy, love, and freedom are needed worldwide. No one should be excluded.
I am an architectural student and intern. While I was building houses in impoverished communities of Guatemala, I got inspired by observing people´s lives in such places. They produced and consumed little. They had nothing but each other, and yet felt joy and satisfaction. I was inspired to see the happiness they had regardless of how poor they were. I decided to start photographing the locals. In doing so, I realized the power of photography and its ability to capture the essence of life and of one´s self.
Currently, I am working on "Rostros de Guatemala." It means faces of Guatemala. Through my photographs I want to express the lives of Guatemalans I was connected to. The other theme I am working on is "World of Colors." It refers to the countries of world. Through such theme I want to express the richness of architecture and culture of the world we live in.