The exhibition ‘On Revolution Roads: Memorial tourism in Yugoslavia,’ examines the position and function of memorial national liberation struggle (NLS) in the tourist segment of the economic and socio-economic system of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY).
— Zagreb, Miroslav Kraljević Gallery. Opening: Tuesday 10/11/2015 at 7pm
— Sarajevo, History Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Opening: Tuesday 24/11/2015 at 4pm
— Kraljevo, City hall. Opening: Saturday 28/11/2015 at 2pm
The introduction of memorial tourism as a part of the overall SFRY tourist scheme/industry from the late seventies and early eighties of the 20th century to the present day is an under-researched phenomenon of the post-war development of Yugoslavian tourism. The inauguration of NLS memorials as a tourism product and the consequent commercialization of the symbolic and historical-political dimension of NLS cultural heritage impacted the mechanisms of managing existing monuments and the concepts of building new NLS memorials, as well as the methods of their financing. The term memorial tourism is taken with a certain grain of salt, since this statement implicitly emphasizes the commercial functions as the main characteristic of memorial areas and NLS facilities in Yugoslavia, which to some extent ignores the complexity of the historical and political significance and symbolic and socio-economic function of NLS memorials.
The idea of introducing the memorial heritage of the NLS into the tourist industry system and the possibility that the symbolic memorial, and socio-economic potential of memorial sites (memorial parks, memorial areas, etc.) and facilities (memorial homes, museums, authentic objects) could be used as a complete tourist product for the whole country, is rooted in the fact that the network of NLS memorials in SRFY was conceived and built as a functionally equipped system, to carry out a number of important functions in the system of self-managing social relations of Yugoslav socialism.
Since the late forties a series of commemorative activities have been held at the memorial sites: from the simple raising of memorials (memorial plaques, sculptures, etc.) and holding annual commemorations, to the development of memorial sites with pronounced educational training in the content of sculptural exhibitions and memorial parks and museum collections with the creation of accommodation, catering and recreational facilities for different groups of visitors (hotel and motel accommodations, workers’ holiday homes, scout camps and recreational facilities).
In the mid sixties the cultural, educational, sports and recreational functions of the NLS memorial sites were used as resources and incorporated into a unified tourist offer with the potential of generating the economic growth and social development of local communities. Under the organization of the local branches of the Association of Veterans of the National Liberation War (SUBNOR), workers’ and socio-political organizations, trade unions, educational institutions and cultural, artistic, professional and recreational sporting associations (the Scouts League, the Scout Association, mountaineering clubs, scouts etc.) about two and a half million SFRY citizens visited commemorative ceremonies, cultural, educational and artistic events, partisan marches, excursions and picnics in the mid-seventies.
The strategies and plans of the mid-term development of continental tourism in Yugoslavia recognized the catering and accommodation facilities and complimentary facilities NOB memorials, as untapped potential to enrich the tourist offer of local communities in terms of combining the memorial, mountain, marine and thermal spa tourism. The biodiversity of the natural environment, the beauty of the landscape and the “coexistence” of different types of tourism has attracted increasing numbers of visitors and in the eighties the number of visitors rose to about four million a year. Ultimately this was an attempt to direct the economic benefits of the tourism industry to the development of local economies in economically underdeveloped areas, through the creation of local employment, the development of infrastructure, and the organization and maintenance of the memorial area.
The process of incorporating NOB monuments into the diversity that the tourist industry of SFRY could offer, from the mid-seventies until the disintegration of the country, is shown through twelve examples of memorial sites from all over the former state, and in addition to archival and family photographs the exhibition also displays travel guides, maps and plans, and artwork by the Slovenian artist, Dejan Habichtin.
The exhibition will be open in Zagreb until the 28/11/2015 after which it will be possible to view in Sarajevo, Kraljevo, Ljubljana and Belgrade.
Opening hours: Miroslav Kraljević Gallery, Tues-Fri 12:00-19:00, Sat 11:00-13:00
The exhibition is the joint activity of the members of the international platform INAPPROPRIATE MONUMENTS and their external collaborators. The members of the platform are SF:ius – Social Fringe: interesting untold stories (Zagreb), Group of architects (Belgrade), Modern Gallery (Ljubljana) and the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Hercegovina (Sarajevo).
Concept: Lana Lovrenčić and Milan Rakita
Design: Oleg Šuran
Research associates: Mateja Kuka (SF:ius), Nikola Puharić (SF:ius), Tamara Buble (SF:ius), Jelica Jovanović (GA), Jelena Grbić (GA), Marko Jenko (MG+MSU), Elma Hodžić (HM BH), Barbara Drole, Vladana Putnik, Nenad Lajbenšperger and Goran Janev (the Leftist movement of solidarity, Skoplje).