Artists: Sandra Dukic and Boris Glamocanin
SPAPORT 2010th Banja Luka / EXPOSURES
– Universal example of a marginalized community, forgotten people and government’s irresponsibility.
– Ljubija, a former municipality in BiH, which used to be one of the highly developed regions, mainly due to the mine from which the majority of the population lived. The mine was built during the Austro-Hungarian Empire and it was one of the largest and most productive mines in the Balkans.
– During the Communist era in BIH the residents of Ljubija used to address each other with Mr. and Mrs. After work, working clothes were replaced with a suit, a tie and a hat.
– Most of the settlements were built specifically for mine workers, with many buildings dating from 1909.
– At the beginning of war in Bosnia the majority of Ljubija residents left the town. After the war the municipality of Prijedor decided to resettle refugees from collective centers around the RS in Ljubija. Today the unemployment rate in Ljubija is as high as 80%, which makes Ljubija residents one of the most socially vulnerable groups of people in the country. Ljubija has become a reservation of forgotten people that nobody talks about.
– Residents live solely on social security (which amounts to around 23 € in the Republic of Srpska) and child allowance. Escapist entertainment is the most pronounced, with alcohol abuse, prostitution and other forms of socially deviant behavior on the constant increase.
The project “Ljubija Kills” emerged from the study of and participation in activist and humanitarian work with women in the local community of Ljubija. In our earlier works we dealt with marginalized people (not hiding that we include ourselves in that group) and their identity. Ljubija seemed like the most dramatic example of a marginalized community, forgotten people and government’s irresponsibility. Thinking about the future of the community, we viewed it as a long-term project and a clear answer to the topic “where everything is yet to happen”. The project is envisaged to have a number of chapters to be addressed. First and foremost, it is necessary to raise public awareness about Ljubija because this town is nowadays completely marginalized.
Kills – in addition to its literal meaning, when used in local slang, this term has a positive connotation and corresponds to the English slang word “rulez”, “smashing”, etc. (e.g. “Dodik kills”, “State kills”, “LJUBIJA KILLS!”)
The main feature of Ljubija is the mine which is the center of life, because it is full of ore that is an integral part of the planet and one of the basic factors of life on Earth. The mine is the main theme of all stories, while the re-starting of its operation is seen as a potential lifeline for this town.
Ljubija foundries were known in all the towns around the region as they produced manhole covers that protect us from all the “crap” flowing below us that we do not want to see. By making interventions in public space, marking the manhole covers in the capital of RS, Banja Luka, which were made in the Ljubija foundries, we found that they were great symbols of diversion. We used manhole cover, an object that protects us from the sewer hole, as a symbol of Ljubija today. By “sewage” we mean “social sewage” that someone must be responsible for.
The intervention in public space is designed in such a way to mark manhole covers produced in the Ljubija foundries as well as other foundries (because we are telling a universal story) as places which “scream”: “LJUBIJA KILLS!” The marking of manhole covers would take place in downtown Banja Luka, one of the busiest parts of the city, where every day almost every manhole becomes “imprinted” with thousands of human footprints.
“Ljubija Kills” raises questions, draws attention, opens a discussion as it gives a clear artistic attitude about the place where life ends and which currently has no positive platform for future development.