MEMORIAL LOVAS – LAND ART SCULPTURE AND INTERPRETATION CENTRE IN LOVAS
is the winner of the first prize at public competition, in progress
In the year 1991, the Homeland war was raging in most parts of Croatia. The areas along the border with Serbia were the most affected ones. On 18 October 1991, a group of 51 Croats from Lovas, after being tortured and harassed for a whole day by Yugoslav army troops and Chetniks, were forcibly taken away to “clean” the minefield in the village.
Once the group reached the minefield set in a clover field just by the exit from the village towards Tovarnik, the guards had ordered the captives to enter the field, to hold hands and to “mow” the clover with their feet, while they and their entire military escort stood at an appropriate distance and threatened them with weapons. The mines were placed in series in several rows.
Once a mine was activated, the whole row would activate. There were also land mines in the field which were placed by the experts from the Yugoslav army. Since there was no military justification to place those mines, it may be concluded that the purpose of this minefield was to kill and injure Croats. “Mowing” clover with feet activated the mines and triggered a series of explosions, while at the same time, Chetniks and Yugoslav army troops shot the survivors in the back. This event is called Bloody Grape Harvest.
By connecting a symbolic representation of Slavonian arable lands with the lines which evoke the Latin cross, the project in both its content and its meaning unites the sculpture and the base in one whole. This great land art intervention represents an inventive and contemporary solution which blends in with the valley landscape.
The project evokes a furrow, that is, a white “scar” on the surface of the Croatian soil, and the cross represent forgiveness and Christian tradition of Lovas. This metaphorical scar remains a permanent local feature, recognizable from near and far.
The interpretation centre is a mimicry, a hill completely buried with the purpose to achieve maximum acknowledgement of the existing landscape and all meanings of the site.
The presence of visitors at the Memorial, an open walking trail where the names of all tragically killed innocent victims further emphasise barrenness, exposure and vulnerability of individuals in the tragic history of this location.
Reconciliation, synergy and bursting life energy of the people of Lovas is omnipresent to such an extent that it instantly becomes a driver for great and small things. A modest budget of the municipality of Lovas does not present an obstacle for planning and investing in their own space since every year the municipality applies and obtains the funds for projects which significantly develop their space and ensure the flourishing of life in their community.
competition, 1st prize, project in progress
Lovas, Vukovar-Srijem County, Croatia
1 110 m2
gross surface area:
15 900 m2
- Bernarda Silov, m.arch.
- Davor Silov, m.arch.
- Božica Dea Matasić, visual artist
- Kristina Rogić, m.arch.
Jurica Grepo (drone), ATMOSFERA ™