In Anticipation of Imam Mahdi (Mula Omar, Sheikh Yassin and Zvezdan Jovanović)
oil on canvas
100 cm x 80 cm (3 pcs)

The installation In Anticipation of Imam Mahdi consists of 12 portraits of internationally proclaimed war criminals, painted in the recognizable pop-art manner, with the halos of saints above their heads.

The work was exhibited at the 45th October Salon: Continental Breakfast (2004), at the invitation of Art Director Anda Rottenberg. Several months earlier, the planned exhibition of the works at the Progres Gallery in Belgrade had been banned shortly before the opening.

Portraits of the declared war criminals, such as Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Mula Omar, Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, Sheikh Yassin and Ruhollah Khomeini, include those connected to the war in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s: Željko Ražnatović Arkan, Slobodan Milošević, Zvezdan Jovanović and Radovan Karadžić (some of whom were alive at the time the work was created). Choosing these personalities, the artist wonders about the credibility of the dominant views and the power of media images that reflect the power of capital and the ruling economic and political structures. He also wonders whether it is possible to restore the referentiality of man as a thinking subject. The idea of humanism and of democracy that has turned into its surrogate, and his personal stance on the fight against terrorism today, are some of the main topics addressed in these works.

© Cultural Centre of Belgrade, October Salon Collection and the artist
Gift Contract: III-5-218/14.8.2014.
Inventory No. 1337
Photo: Milan Kralj

Selected Bibliography:
45th October Salon, Continental Breakfast. Cultural Centre of Belgrade, 2004
Marija Đorđević, “Papa pokriven kaputom”, Politika, Belgrade, 09.2.2008, KD6, – accessed on March 10, 2020.
Vladislav Šćepanović, “Mediji, estetika i destrukcija”, Collection of Papers, Faculty of Dramatic Arts, No. 16, Belgrade, 2009, 129–141


Vladislav Šćepanović (1971, Nikšić, Montenegro) graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Cetinje, received his master’s degree and doctorate in interdisciplinary doctoral studies from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. In his art, he deals with the world of simulation and the operations of the forces of domination and resistance in the mass media of spectacle. His main motive is the exploration of media scenes that are an open portrayal of the power of capital and the ruling economic and political structures. He is one of three artists who represented Serbia at the 57th Venice Biennale. He is a professor at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. More information at