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07 Jun 13

The Taste, Feel and Look of Old Yugoslavia

A new exhibition, 'Ziveo Zivot', ['Long Live Life'], pays tribute to the everyday experiences of the people of Yugoslavia in the second half of 20th century in an innovative way.

Nemanja Cabric
BIRN Belgrade
A small scale model of a JAT airplane (More photos available here)| Photo by Nemanja Cabric

There are old cars, pairs of jeans, the aroma of familiar perfumes, a typical classroom, a restaurant, and even some bus seats.

These and many other everday objects have found their place in a new exhibition on the life of old Yugoslavia that opened on June 4 in the Robna Kuca Beograd in Knez Mihailova 5.

"Our goal was to make a tribute to the life of an ordinary citizen of the SFRJ, a man who lived a simpler, more comfortable, more secure life, with far fewer worries," Aleksa Milivojevic, one of the organizers, said.

The economist prepared the exhibition with Uros Radulovic, a historian, and Zivko Maletkovic, an engineer, over more than a year.

The authentic objects exhibited on three levels were borrowed from private collections or donated by friends as well as state institutions.

More than a hundred people from various fields took part in the project, including cultural experts, artists, sportsmen and journalists.

"The best source of information was the ordinary person," says Milivojevic, adding that the goal was simply to present people's everyday lives in the former Socialist state.

"We didn't aim to uncover any historical facts but to explain to younger generations, and help older remember, what did a better and higher quality life was like," he adds.

The exhibition, divided into 14 sub-sections, reveals the high level of development of Yugoslav education, creativity, music, sports and all the "values that were brought to the surface" in former Yugoslavia.

The multimedia exhibition includes authentic objects, scenography, and installations, audio, video and 3d projections.

Visitors can feel what was it to drive along the streets of old Yugoslavia, walk into a convenience store and leaf through magazines and newspapers from the time.

They can also try out the hot dog stand, which represented the latest in Sixties design.

At the cinema adapted to look like a summer cinema from the Fifties there are projections of domestic and international movies, commercials and news.

In one corner an installation recalls the living room of an average Yugoslav family, while in another is a classroom typical of the time, as well as a school gym.

In another corner is a playground for marbles - a favourite game of children in that era.

In one passage are two fully equipped offices, of a senior official, and a lower ranking one, on whose walls hang posters of late Yugoslav president, Josip Broz Tito, and large-scale photographs of old Belgrade.

Besides looking, smelling and engaging in activities, visitors can get a taste of Yugoslavia as well. Favourite meals of Yugoslav workers are served up for sampling once in a while.

In Pictures: Tribute to an Ordinary Yugoslavian

Get a deeper insight into the life of people that lived in Yugoslavia in our Photo Gallery.

"The concept of the exhibition was to use all of visitors’ senses in order to build a passage through time,” explains Milivojevic.

"We didn't want to abuse the nostalgia that people have, but to show that the quality of live can improve in a more responsible society,” he says.

Exhibition is divided into two parts, the first of which takes place from June 4 to July 31.

The second will be open from September 20 until November 30 and will feature more segments, such as movie and theatre stars, and items of industry and technology.

"Long Live Life" ("Ziveo zivot") is open daily from 10am to 10pm, and entry costs 250 dinars for adults and 200 for school pupils, students and pensioners.

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