Category

Štafete / Relays

Yugoslav Political Art: The Youth Relays – a Symbol of Peace?

Tina Potočnik, PhD

Rat i vizuelna kultura / War and Visual Culture

Konferencija bilateralnog projekta Srbija / Slovenija 2012 – 2013: Umetnička razmena i kreiranje jugoslovenskog identiteta u vizuelnoj kulturi od 1848-1990: Srbija-Slovenija / Slovenija-Srbija

18. 10. 2013, Belgrade, Serbia (Filozofski fakultet)

From 1957 the Youth Relay was given to the Yugoslav president each year until in 1987 this tradition was abolished. Within this period thirty-one relay batons, designed by leading Yugoslavian artists in a wide formal variety, were the focus of the Youth Day Celebrations, honoring Tito’s birthday and emphasizing brotherhood and unity. This paper examines symbolical dimensions of those artefacts, originally of non-artistic nature transmitted into the Yugoslav liturgy and art in a trans-national and trans-historical perspective. By widening the notion of the relay baton to the relay torch and through parallel surveying of the Youth Relays and the Olympic Torch Relay, introduced in 1936 at the Berlin Games, in relation to the re-design of a Nazi poster for the Youth Day Celebration in 1987 which depicts a relay baton in the form of the model for the Parliament building designed by Jože Plečnik, the paper also contemplates the possibility of perceiving the Youth Relays as a symbol of peace.