Protests of 2020 and 2021 documented in photography monograph

Ljubljana – The photographic monograph entitled Shame by the artist collective Non-Grupa, which contains a detailed overview of protest actions in 2020 and 2021, has been published and was officially presented in front of the Culture Ministry on Monday.

The authors chose 7 February as the official date of the book’s publication, because it marks exactly 80 years since the start of cultural broadcast made by Radio Kričač, Slovenia’s illegal rebellious radio during WWII that became a symbol of resistance.

Urša Chitrakar, Non-Grupa’s official representative, said that “the group’s aim is to draw attention to social injustice and the unacceptable erosion of people’s rights – we believe in a community-based horizontal approach here and now”.

“The history of the struggle is our inspiration, which we carry with us in our actions as a method, a memory and a reminder,” she added on behalf of the collective.

“We live in a time when a small group of people is gaining more and more, while the vast majority are being pushed into poverty and are being robbed of their voice,” she said, adding that art must “contribute to public dialogue”.

The artist group also drew parallels between their publication and the clandestine press at the end of WWII. “Culture gave war-weary people at least a minimum amount of dignity and optimism,” said Chitrakar.

In the name of the book’s publisher Založba ZRC, the publishing unit of Slovenia’s Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU), philosopher Peter Klepec of SAZU’s Philosophy Institute shared his views on the publication and the definitions of shame.

Klepec said that shame was typically “a feeling of discomfort and intense embarrassment,” and that the photographic monograph Shame was “similarly heavy, difficult to read and difficult to handle”.

He added that it was fitting that Tuesday’s Culture Day holiday should also be commemorated with this monograph, saying that culture in Slovenia was born out of resistance against being shamed as a less developed nation, and that much of the first attempts of cultural creation in Slovenia were aimed at avoiding this ridicule and shame.