Fight, Knowledge, Equality

“Fight, Knowledge, Equality”, photo by: Nenad Nikolić

On the fourth of April, 2014 KURS association presented the mural titled Fight, Knowledge, Equality at Gospodar Jevremova street No. 31

About the mural Fight, Knowledge, Equality
After conducted the research of the history of Belgrade murals in 2011/12 the most important conclusions was that there were neither left oriented nor murals which depicted the history of work movement and anti-fascist struggle. It is important to note that KURS would like to emphasize the possible “monumental“ concept of a mural, which does not necessarily need to be just an aesthetic intervention. The starting point of the mural were struggles for better financial and social status of the students of Belgrade University led in the thirties of the 20th century. One of the most important moments in this struggle was and the April protest in 1936, when students were able to fight for their demands. Unfortunately, during the protest, on the 4th of April, student Zarko Marinovic was killed. This day is celebrated as Student Day at Belgrade University .

This historical background helps to reflect current poor status of young people and the need for their active involvement in political action. Students today, as well as the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, are facing with the difficult financial position – the high cost of tuition and fees, expensive materials and literature. Additionally the perspective after graduating does not sound any better – unemployment, or alternative to going to the emigration. However, this position should not lead only to apathy.

For the creation of sketches, KURS has, as in the previous works, been using archival segments and historical information on which it based its collage composition. The mural is modeled after a flayer of a youth movement from the‘20s. Two figures (male and female) walking forward carrying flags are dominating the whole composition and Branko Miljkovics poem  Everyone Will Write Poetry from the cycle Critique of Poetry stands in the center . On the top of the composition there are two swallows symbolizing herald and youth, but also alluding to the two recent spring revolutions: Arab Spring and Protests in Turkey. Swallows are carrying ribbons with the message “Fight, knowledge, equality”.

After the presentation of the mural  Fight, Knowledge, Equality in the community center Octobar was held discussion on the current and future student struggles as well as screening of the fim by Kontext Collective About Solidarity. Participants in the talks were Jelena Veljić , Vuk Vukovic (CDA , Gerusija) and Milos Miletic (KURS), moderated by Marko Miletic from the Kontekst Collective. During the conversation we discussed the role of art in a variety of social movements – whether and how art can contribute to the creation of alternative policies. Then, what are the problems to which student movements responded over the last decade; the ways in which they opposed the commercialization and privatization of higher education and whether and how these struggles were successful. Finally, the blockade of the Faculty of Philosophy and the new ways of the students organisations. A video About Solidarity explores the forgotten history of the student movement in Belgrade and Zagreb University in the twenties and thirties of the 20th century, their struggle for better financial and social status, and the possibility of cooperation and solidarity of students with other social and political movements. In the video collected archival material is in juxtaposition with contemporary footage of student protests and the plenum, works of art and documentary materials on workers’ strikes and blockades as well as various social movements to protect the common goods. The intention of this work is to stimulate new research on student struggles, to reflect the necessity of gathering different social movements, their recognition and creating broad front of struggle for better working and living conditions.

Authors of the mural are Mirjana Radovanović and Miloš Miletić, members of the KURS association, and Martina Petrović, student of the Faculty of Fine Arts was an assistant in painting.

Project is supported by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung Southeast Europe, and administrative support provided by municipality of Stari Grad.