Documentary Embroidery / KALUDJERICA / Tapestry

Kaludjerica from A to Š is a tapestry produced in collaboration with the residents of a neighborhood on the outskirts of Belgrade. It expresses opinions and observations collected and embroidered by us and by the neighbors. We opened an 'embroidery office' right outside the official city building in Kaludjerica, on the outskirts of Belgrade. People pass through this building either to stamp some document, submit an appeal to the Communal Service, fix a tooth, get an injection at the clinic, or even pay some bill in the bank. We asked these people to give us their suggestions for words and expressions that would best represent their neighborhood - a word for each letter of the alphabet. Many gave us word suggestions. Some would also illustrate it on a piece of cloth while others would sit and embroider with us. The result is a huge tapestry done together with: Tanja Vasiljević, Grozdana Illić, Sandra and Slobodanka Mitrović, Nikola Radić, Jelena Simović, Filipović Božidarka, Illić Milijana, Milan (who was bringing us coffes and ice-creams), Nebojša Milikić, Gordana and Bojana Jelenić, Nebojša Kitanović, Milica...”

kaludjerica od A do Sh
a ambrozija
b bus
v veza za vrtic
g gradjevinci
d dosljaci domorodci
dj djubre
e extra
z ziva bila
z zima
i infrastruktura
j jugoslavija u malom
k kanalizacija
l legalizacija
lj ljovisna
m mali privrednici
n nocni autobus
nj njive jos zive
o oci gledaju
p prica istinita
r rke krke
s stiska
t trudnice
tch cutim
u ulice
f fontana
h hvala i uzdravlje
c crkva
ch cas posla
dz dzabatos
sh sareni pod

A – Ambrozija

Ambrosia (weed) / The less popular inherits the house. Refers to the situation where the one who was less favoured, comes out as the winner. Ambrozja is a weed which spreads throughout the whole area of Kaludjerica. The phrase jokingly refers to this uninvited, worthless guest and the inhabitants’ efforts to exterminate it.

B - Bus 309. 

Bus line that goes from the centre of Belgrade to Kaludjerica.

V – Veza za vrtić

Connection for the Kindergarten. It is well known that it is necessary to have some 'connection' for everything. Even the children in Kaludjerica have to wait in a queue for years to get a place in the kindergarten.

G – Graditelji Kaludjerice izgradiše Beograd

The builders from Kaludjerica built Belgrade. Kaludjerica is one of the biggest informal neighbourhoods in the Balkans with its 8.000 houses and 25.000 inhabitants. But the houses there are not like the ones people expect to see in the slums. Given that most of the residents of Kaludjerica were artisans and construction workers, they built big, beautiful, and solid houses. Construction workers from Kaludjerica worked for the state-owned construction companies that built Belgrade, and found employment around the world.

D – Mi smo domorodci, vi ste došljaci

We are the Aborigines and you are the newcomers. Refers to the confrontation between the two waves of immigration to Kaludjerica.

Dj - Djubre

Garbage. Given that it is an informal neighbourhood, Kaludjerica is devoid of municipal services, including garbage collection.

E - Extra. 

A popular expression of approval, but could be used in a wide range of situations. 

Ž - Živela ! Kaludjerica 3000

Long live Kaludjerica! Year 3000. Good wishes for Kaludejrica to survive another millennium.

Z - Zima 

Winter is nigh and as there exists no central heating system, people have to plan in advance how to get fuel for the long cold period.

I - Infrastruktura

Infrastructure in general is what the locals had to build together on their own, as there was no previous urban planning and the Government did not take charge of it.

J – Jugoslavija u malom ili južna pruga

A miniature of Yugoslavia or South Railway? Refers to the first generation of immigrants who came from all over Yugoslavia, and the second that arrived from the southern regions of Serbia and Kosovo. In that sense Kaludjerica is like a miniature version of what used to be the state of Yugoslavia.

K - Kanalizacija

Sewage. Currently, the biggest problem of Kaludjerica is the sewage system that has become obsolete as the neighbourhood has grown. Big floods and disputes between neighbours are a common sight every time it rains. At the same time the government is ignoring the situation.

L - Legalizacija

Legalization of the illegally built houses is a common threat from the government, with legalization notices hanging above Kaludjerica's households.

LJ - Ljovisna. 

Llovisna. A South American soap opera, the most popular TV series in Kaludjerica.

M – Mali privrednici veliki mučenici

Small entrepreneurs, big sufferers. Privatization and the closing down of big enterprises compelled people to start opening small businesses to survive. Even so, the lives of the small entrepreneurs is not easy as they are highly taxed.

N – Noćni autobus

Night bus

NJ - Njive, jos su žive

Agricultural fields still alive. If you look between the houses in Kaludjerica it is possible to occasionally see some arable fields cultivated by the neighbors.

O – Oči gledaju, ruke stvaraju

Eyes see, hands make. This is what Mrs. Grozdana said to explain how she made many embroideries when she was younger, in the sense that whatever her eyes could see inspired her to embroider it. After that Nebojsa, another neighbor, explained that this is the way in which Kaludjerica was built, people imagined their houses and immediately built them in a spontaneous way.

P – Priča istinita, jagoda na nozi

True story: strawberry on the leg. M. Grozdana explained another interesting story. While she was pregnant, someone told her that if she stole a fruit and then touched a part of her body, a birthmark in the shape of that fruit would appear on the child's body. So, one day she passed by a strawberry field. She thought, “let’s see if this saying is true”. She kneeled down, picked a strawberry, ate it and touched her leg. When the baby was born it had a birthmark in the shape of the strawberry on the leg. And not just that. Just recently Mrs Grozdana had a grandson and, the baby was born with a strawberry-shaped birthmark in the same place.

R - Rke-Krke 

Is a dated popular expression to say that something is done in a precarious, senseless, or careless way. In the tapestry it expresses the dissatisfaction of a neighbour living by a road which he says is an old road, constructed by the Turks, now in deplorable condition.

S - Stiska 

Slang for being under pressure on daily basis. The drawing tries to untie the knot between all the things one wants and enjoys doing on the one hand, and everything one is obliged to do, on the other.

T – Trudnice se trude za Kaludjericu

Women labour for Kaludjerica. In Serbian language it is a play on words. People from Kaludejerica take pride in the fact that their neighbourhood has the highest birth rate in the region.

Ć – Ćutim, šta da radim?

I keep mum, what else? With so many problems and difficulties, people have no other option than to withstand the situation without complaining.

U - Ulice, krive ali žive, slepe ali lepe

Streets are narrow, bumpy (but lively), cul-de-sacs (but nice), and without pavement. In Serbian the saying rhymes.

F - Fontana

Fountain. There is no public or community space in Kaludjerica. Neighbours said there was an initiative some years ago to chip in for a fountain, but it ended up unsuccessfully.

H - Hvala i uzdravlje, vidimo se na otvaranju

Thanks and cheers, and hope to see you at the opening. The long-awaited new and only hospital in Kaludjerica is postponing the date of its official opening.

C - Crkva dobila meč

The Church has won the game. One of the very few playgrounds in Kaludjerica has been chosen as the location where to build a cathedral.

Č - Čas posla

Working hour. This is the way to explain how fast houses can be built and occupied in Kaludjerica.

Dž - Džabatos

It is an old Turkish word for free of charge. “Džabatos” - spaniolised version of the word is the name of one of the shops where everything is sold at a fixed price of 1euro (100 dinars).

Š - Šareni pod

Colourful floor - One of Kaludjerica residents decided to rent a property and live there because of the colourful floor tiles in the house.

August 2010

Real-time Documentary Embroidery

BBVA / Aviv Kruglanski & Vahida Ramujkic