Exhibition on ex-Yugoslav immigrants on display in Ljubljana

Ljubljana – An exhibition presenting stories of people who emigrated from the former Yugoslav republics to Slovenia in the period after World War II and their descendants will open on Thursday in the Museum of Contemporary History.

The exhibition dubbed Up YU Go! Stories About Identities on the Line presents stories of people who have two or even more ethnic identities, while talking about stereotypes in a humoristic way, according to the curators.

Museum director Jože Dežman has noted that the exhibition was part of a broader European project called Identity on the Line, as part of which several local partner exhibitions and a joint exhibition will be held.

The first of the exhibitions is the current exhibition in Ljubljana, which will also be presented on a smaller scale in eleven European cities.

The exhibition has been in development since 2019, when testimonies of immigrants in Slovenia started to be collected in a bid to capture as many individual and family stories of people who moved to Slovenia between 1945 and 1991.

The number of these people has been estimated at 290,000, said museum consultant Urška Purg, who has co-authored the exhibition with Corinna Brenko.

The exhibition covers several generations, with the authors serving as as a bridge of sorts between the witnesses, who have confirmed everything that has found its way in the exhibition, and the visitors.

Brenko agreed that there is a special process behind the exhibition, as the goal was to establish a connection with individuals at special workshops and talks.

The exhibition is based on the stories of 40 witnesses that follow their train of thoughts, whit each exhibition room being accompanied by a quote in the mother tongue of the immigrant and translated into Slovenian and English.

In addition to written material, the show also features audio material – statements on a specific topic – and videos of recorded conversations.

It presents the migration process, causes for migration, housing issues, and does not shy away from socio-political topics from the beginning of the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s and the issue of the erased residents.

The exhibition, which will be opened by President Borut Pahor, also features a piece by two Slovenian artists – writer and film director Goran Vojnović and musician Magnifico, whose work has helped destigmatise immigrants from the area.