The cheerfulness and sadness of Branko Ćopić: 2015

Author of the exhibition:

Olga Krasić Marjanović

Exhibition design:

Snežana Rajković

Exhibition on the occasion of 100 years since the birth of Branko Ćopić

With the exhibition, which was organized by the Belgrade City Library and the National and University Library of the Republic of Srpska on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Branko Ćopić, we wanted to show that Ćopić, a cheerful children’s writer, left behind a relevant work, a serious testament and a tragic biography. His life path ranged from a favourite writer of the regime to a dissident, and he followed that path to the end.

The material for the exhibition is mostly taken from the SASA Archives, where, by the writer’s will, the entire legacy of Branko Ćopić is kept. Courtesy of the staff of the Archives, the author of the exhibition has been given access to processed and unprocessed archival material: manuscripts, correspondence, invitations to various celebrations and events, posters of literary evenings and theatre performances, awards, decorations, newspaper articles, photos from private albums of the Ćopić family. Nearly 1,000 documents were scanned for the exhibition, so the material collected far exceeds the realization of this exhibition and catalogue. Some documents are appearing in public for the first time: Letters from Ćopić’s mother Soja, and sisters Perović, but also parts from diary entries that point to the writer’s tragic end.

Following crucial moments from the life and work of Branko Ćopić on 35 posters, through documents and photographs, the following is presented: childhood in Hasani, growing up and schooling in Bihać and Banja Luka, studies in Belgrade and the beginning of his literary career, stay in the partisans, post-war period, work in the editorial office of the magazine “Pionir”, the collaboration of satirists in “Jež”, the publication of the “Jeretičke priče” which was the beginning of the conflict with the League of Communists and the top of the then Yugoslav government, the election as a regular member of SASA, the commemoration of the jubilee anniversary which was held in 1975 on the occasion of the 60 years of life and 40 years of creating.


A special segment of the exhibition presents the publication of novels and collections of stories, as the author himself presented them in numerous interviews: “Prolom”, “Doživljaji Nikoletine Bursaća”, the case of “Gluvi Barut” and “Odumiranje međeda”, “Ne tuguj Bronzana stražo”, the novel and the series “Osma ofanziva”, “Bašta sljezove boje”, “Delije na Bihaću”). On six posters, along with portraits of the writer, there are excerpts from interviews in which he spoke about his story-telling process, his view of literature and his literary role models, about belonging to his people and homeland, to which the thinnest threads inextricably bound him. It is impossible to tell the story of Ćopić and his work without considering his numerous encounters with the youngest readers and his work on children’s literature, representing more than half of his entire oeuvre.

The exhibition was staged at the Belgrade Book Fair in 2015.
What do I know to say about myself? I talk a lot, and I talk in a humorous way, I make jokes at my own expense and other people’s expense. Sometimes I have the impression that I say all this not to say what I think. And, when I talk about my life, once I talk like this, sometimes like that. I have the impression that a man has several biographies. One is for children, another for politicians, and the third for women… But what I am, I don’t even know myself.


…For me, writing is not an overly difficult effort. Writing has always been a great pastime for me. True, it was necessary to sit at the desk, but it always gave me great joy, so I was forgetting about incidental difficulties..
Branko Ćopić, a quote from one of the exhibition posters


The exhibition can be viewed here.

The catalogue can be viewed here.