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Monument To The Miner Fighter

Labin, Croatia
1 of 6Jerica Ziherl

The monumental structure of four opposing stylized mining hammers is located at the foot of old Labin, in a pine tree park, next to the main bus station. The composition of four hammers, which are welded together with a rectangular surface in the upper part, is placed on a concrete base. This forms a peculiar black vault. The total weight of the corten hammers is 30 tons, the height of the monument reaches six meters. At the foot of the sculpture is a sunken architectural part with the function of a memorial space, ie a "mining trench". However, that part has not been completed until today. In all its phases, from the initial idea in the 70s, to the announcement of the competition in 1980/1981 and the realization of the corten steel sculpture in 1983/1984, and even in later efforts to fully realize the conceptual design, the concept of the monument is related to various anniversaries marking the Labin Republic (1921). In other words, the monument is both symbolically and materially determined by the mining monoculture, therefore its erection was a self-evident social ritual of the entire Labin region. The seriousness of such an act is evidenced by the announced "Yugoslav anonymous competition for the conceptual design of a memorial space for a miner, the miner fighter in Labin" with clearly defined architectural, sculptural and urban guidelines. Out of 50 ideas received from all Yugoslav republics, the jury, composed of political, professional and academic members (11 in total), selected the work of architect Berislav Iskra and sculptor Quintin Bassani. Other monetary awards were also handed out. In the words of the author of the selected concept of the monument, the symbolism of mutually dismembered hammers-mallets reminds of the hands (fists) of miners who reach irresistible strength in harmony. The dark brown corten and the green surrounding are the colours of mining. The larger square with the access corridor not only resembles the entrance through a mining shaft, but is also fulfilling existing urban-communal needs of the city. The last ten years, in addition to the protocol of marking the Labin Republic, various light installations and GIF animations have been projected on the monument, reminding us that it should be completed because it would enliven the surroundings of the monument as the bearer of the memorial of the whole region.