4.12.2017

MANCA JUVAN: Guardians of the Spoon

"Martina Košak’s silver spoon. She carried it with her when she was in jail, in a camp or part of the National Liberation Army. Martina kept it until her death, when she chose me to be it’s guardian."  Photograph © Manca Juvan

 Guardians of the Spoon
Photograph © Manca Juvan

 Guardians of the Spoon
Photograph © Manca Juvan

 Guardians of the Spoon
Photograph © Manca Juvan

 Guardians of the Spoon
Photograph © Manca Juvan

 Guardians of the Spoon
Memories of Internment in Italian Fascist camps 1941–1943
Photographs:  Manca Juvan
Text: Saša Petejan, Urška Strle
Foreword: Slavoj Žižek

I met photographer Manca Juvan while reviewing for the 2016 Fourth Annual “New York Portfolio Review” sponsored by the New York Times LENS blog and the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism. Manca's long term-photo project, focusing on preserving memory of Italian Fascist Concentration Camps, has since been published in a unique book which has already won the 'Award on 32' at the 2016 Slovenian Book Fair for best design among monographic and bibliophilic books and was a winner in the 2017 International PhotoBook Awards in Los Angeles.

Her description, “This photography book relates to a historic period of World War II, when Kingdom of Italy occupied part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia’s territory, and when Fascist camps served as an instrument of political and racial persecution. Its importance lies in the general present day historic amnesia in Italy and beyond, where shock is experienced learning that Mussolini’s Italy was not only the aggressor at the time, but it created a network of hundreds of places of internment, not only within the borders of Italy as we know it, but also on territories of today’s Slovenia and Croatia among others. The exact number of the camps remains largely unknown; the number of victims also remains unknown.”

"History has little if anything to say about the Italian camps; as a result, names and places like Rab, Gonars, Visco, Monigo, Chiesanuova, Renicci, Colfiorito, Fraschette di Alatri, Cairo Montenotte and others, where more than 50,000 Slovenes, Croats, Montenegrins and other South Slavs were interned, mean nothing to many, particularly the younger generations."

"This book sheds light on some fragments of the destinies of Slovene victims of these Italian camps; it is an attempt to give voice to the politically induced loss of historic memory and it represents an act of remembrance - a way to pay respect to the past victims and survivors of Italian camps and their relatives."

Guardians of the Spoon

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Content Copyright (c) Elizabeth Avedon 2014