On the Margins of Memory

World War II Graffiti in the Northern Adriatic Borderland

  • Eric Ušić
Keywords: memory, graffiti, political graffiti, World War II, Northern Adriatic, Yugoslavia

Abstract

The article explores a specific historical graffiti-scape in the Northern Adriatic borderland, composed of antifascist, (pro)communist and pro-Yugoslav political inscriptions and symbols created during World War II and the immediate postwar period by antifascist and communist activists. Produced in a turbulent historical period that radically reshaped the broader region, these graffiti ‘survived’ and endured almost 80 years, transcending their original political function and historical context of production, as well as the postwar Yugoslav and socialist future that their messages articulated, imagined and projected in the landscape. Today, these historical notes and fragments, scattered across present-day Croatian, Slovenian and Italian territories, represent a singular and significant, but largely unrecognized and overlooked archive that transmits a set of political imaginations, ideological discourses, linguistic nuances and historical experiences that depict a complex and multifaceted picture of the 1940s context in the borderland. The aim of the article is to, first, introduce and (re)contextualize the historical material with an examination of the main features of the documented World War II graffiti corpus and, second, to analyze the graffiti’s contents and meanings in order to highlight their historical, archival, cultural and memorial significance as unfiltered and authentic texts that constitute a particular and unexplored layer of the borderland’s memory landscape and (auto)biography.

Published
2024-05-07
How to Cite
Ušić, E. (2024). On the Margins of Memory. SAUC - Street Art and Urban Creativity, 10(1), 10 - 25. https://doi.org/10.25765/sauc.v10i1.916