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Marcel Blažina and the art of ship modelling

(Exhibition, Maritime Museum »Sergej Mašera« Piran, 21 June 2015 – 15 February 2015)


Dr Nadja Terčon, Bogdana Marinac


The authors of the exhibition and publication, Dr Nadja Terčon and Bogdana Marinac, carried out the project in close cooperation with designer Mateja Tomažinčič and the project professional team comprising Director of the Maritime Museum Franco Juri, project associate Vesna Zorko, professional associate Dr Flavio Bonin, photographer Luka Kaše, language editor Dr Igor Presl and translator Ivan Marković. Preparation of the selected exhibits was taken care of by Leonora Kortnik. Technical works were fully implemented by Leonora Kortnik and Marko Goljuf with the aid of Lean Vinkovič and Luana Kozlovič. The exhibition printed material was entrusted to Vlasta Lesjak / Repropoint Izola. A special mention should be made of cooperation with the young designer from Izola, Mateja Tomažinčič, Marcel Blažina's granddaughter, who designed a corporate identity of the entire project as well as made her own contribution for the publication. It is her very attitude towards »Marčel's« legacy (so she called her granddad) that can be a role model for the young in how the tradition of their ancestors and family can be preserved in different ways and popularized at the same time. 

The exhibition and the publication speak not only of a top modeller and his ship models, but also of a sailor, partisan and worker who lived in various places along the sea, where different ethnicities have co-lived for centuries. They speak about the history of the Trieste littoral region and Istria, of the people who lived there, and the impact of historical events on the life of every individual. Blažina's models, on the other hand, speak also about the man who substantiated his creativity on a consistent understanding of social and historical events, during which he himself was one of the indispensable protagonists. The same as numerous other inhabitants of Primorje and Istria, who lived in the first half of the 20th century, Marcel Blažina, too, well felt the political, economic and life conditions under different regimes and political systems – the consequences of different ideologies, border changes and wars. With the exhibition and publication, which deal with »one of us«, we wished to tell the interested public that »little people«, »ordinary people«, who constituted and still do a component part of a certain society in certain time and space, are becoming part of history and, in different ways, interesting sources of data.

Through various documents, paintings, photographs and objects, Marcel Blažina's views of life, values, wishes and love of work as shaped through his life course are thus presented. The past had a great impact on his work in his ripe years and on his greatest hobby – ship modelling – in which he excelled as a precious master and which became his life mission. As a creative and resourceful master he created in his workshop in Izola, in different modelling techniques, his miniature ship masterpieces in which he enjoyed immensely.  He made models of ships from the environment in which he lived, vessels that marked his life path, and vessels that seemed important to him for maritime history of the wider environment and the Slovenian nation. This is why »life« stories of depicted ships and their basic data are also presented in both the publication and exhibition along with every model. With them he participated at numerous ship modelling competitions in (ex) Yugoslavia and Italy, where he made new acquaintances and presented his work to the ship modelling public. The numerous awards he received at these competitions further stimulated his will to work. The added value of the exhibition lay particularly in the fact that we succeeded in presenting in one place the major part of Blažina's maritime legacy which, however, is today in the hands of different owners in Slovenia, Italy and Croatia.

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