Fascinating 20th Century Yugoslavian Design
Tamara's answer to people who ask her about her country is ."my country doesn't exist anymore".
One of the things that always comes to the front of my mind is Tamara's answer to people who ask her about her country.
She doesn't mean to be impolite or rude, but quite often answers with, "my country doesn't exist anymore".
And it's true.
Depending on who you ask, the last iteration of Yugoslavia ended on 27 April 1992. I say the last iteration, as Yugoslavia went through quite a few transformations during the 20th Century.
During my youth, and up to my mid adulthood, I must admit that I was relatively ignorant of South East Europe.
Word association to do with Yugoslavia would have been simply, "Communist" or "Tito". I mean, it just didn't focus for me.
Oh! Yes! It (Yugoslavia) was also the main driver of an organisation that was neither NATO or Warsaw Pact.
Now, just the mention of Communism or Socialism to the young me, conjured up visions of drab buildings, poverty and general misery and blandness for "those poor people" who had to live there.
I blame that all now of course, on the film industry of the time.
Maybe the Soviet Union and it's satellites, such as East Germany and Czechoslovakia, were in dire circumstances, but, it seems Yugoslavia wasn't.
In the plus 15 years I have been in Bosnia and Herzegovina, (the former Federated Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina - part of Yugoslavia), I have started slowly and carefully to find out what life really was like for the everyday population back then.
Well it wasn't rampant luxury, that's true. There were shortages at times. Dissent not overly tolerated. The party controlled it all.
A Tourism Video from maybe the 1960’s or 70’s.
BUT, it had a reasonable standard of living. People felt secure and had seaside holidays and entertainment. Cities had centrally controlled heating in apartment buildings. There was healthcare and education free at the point of delivery. And, surprisingly for me to find out, the freedom to travel internationally.
I hear stories even to this day, of Yugoslav families traveling to Warsaw pact countries, to buy goods, "so much cheaper than here at home".
As I delve into 20th century "Yugoslavia", and view thousands of images and YouTube videos of what daily life was like, my research has stumbled upon 2, (there may well be many more), amazing Instagram accounts dedicated to Yugoslavian design.
One concerns itself with furnishings, electrics and household items, the other advertising.
They provide a "living history "glimpse into a time gone by.
And actually, many many similarities in styles to what I fondly remember from the UK.
If you're into architecture, you should check out our podcast about the Spomenik Database.