Brutalist architecture once thought to be forgotten is going through a renaissance today. The giant, fortress-like masses of building structures made not only of concrete have become the sources of inspiration and protagonists of books, art and design projects and documentaries. The illustrations of Serbian-born Jovana Radujko pay tribute to brutalism by documenting personal memories.
Jovana Radujko studied architecture and interior design. Having completed her studies, she worked as an assistant lecturer and an interior designer. Drawing has always formed an integral part of her life, and two years ago she decided to share them with others by creating her Instagram account brutalizam_i_renesansa (brutalism and renaissance). “For me, brutalist buildings do not simply represent an architectural style. I was raised in New Belgrade, and these buildings form a dominant part of all of my childhood memories. I see them as monuments and memorials of an era which I admire, which has passed and will never return, but I feel like I belong to at least a small piece of it” – Jovana told us.
The meticulous, hand-drawn illustrations rich in details and made without using a ruler do not only manifest Jovana’s personal memories, but also become part of Belgrade’s collective memory.
“All of this started pretty random. One day I was sitting on my balcony watching New Belgrade, the same view I have been watching for almost 20 years, and just started drawing those tiny illustrations in my sketchbook. I think I wanted to capture moments, emotions and my own relations with buildings and parts of my neighborhood – like an homage to my childhood and all the good memories New Belgrade has given me. So it started as a totally personal project, but it turned out that other people really love to see the buildings they live in in the form of drawings, too – I think it’s safe to say that the higher purpose of my drawings is to preserve the Yugoslavian brutalist heritage“ – Jovana explained.
Initially she only drew the buildings in her close environment, and later she realized that documenting the memories of others is also important to her. Her favorites include Belgrade’s eastern gate, otherwise known as the Rudo, as well as the Genex Tower, a 36-story skyscraper, which can also be seen from Jovana’s balcony.
We have good news for the fans of brutalism: Jovana’s illustrations are not only available online, but on T-shirts, canvas bags and mugs, too, which you can shop on the Instagram account of the illustrator.
Jovana Radujko | Instagram