Mom always says, "never cut a knot, always untie it. If you can't figure out how to untie a knot, you'll never figure out how to solve your problems."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

powerful threads

I saw this today and thought is worth sharing.  I found it very moving,
especially the last word.  Sadly that had no punctuation mark

Lise Bjorne Linnert
Desconocida Unknown, installation Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Philadelphiacommunity art project, 5300 hand embroidered nametags in protest of murders of women Ciudad Juarez, Mexico2006 - ongoing

this evening I pulled up more information for the above project as I found it so compelling:  (sorry for the length) from  www.lisebjorne.com :
4100 hand embroidered labels, sewing pins,
site specific installation
Desconocida Unknown Ukjent is an ongoing community art project, using embroidery as a tool to protest and show solidarity with women´ fight against abuse, femicides and human trafficking. The project was initiated in 2006 in response to the critical situation in Ciudad Juarez, a city on the border of USA and Mexico where 800 women since 1993 are known to have been brutally murdered and hundreds have disappeared, suspected kidnapped to trafficking. None of the crimes have been solved and the Mexican Government remains passive, often hindering the process of justice.
2100 individuals in 27 countries have so far participated in the project. Each participant embroiders the name of one murdered woman in Ciudad Juarez on a white cloth label, 2cm x 8cm. To remember all the unidentified victims of similar crimes worldwide, each participant also embroiders the word unknown in their own language and alphabet.

By June 2010 more than 4000 labels have been embroidered.

The situation in Ciudad Juarez gives a cruel picture of the dark side of globalization, corruption, and the in-balance between the people of power and money, and the huge population of poor, in desperate need of job. Ciudad Juarez is a typical city on the US/Mexican border “hosting” nearly 400 international factories, so called Maquilladoras or Sweat Shops. Companies such as General Electric, Sony, Nike, Gap, and many more, change their companies name when they cross the border to employ Mexican workers, in majority women, for a very low cost. They do not pay tax, neither to Mexico nor the US, enhancing their profit. The possibilities of jobs bring thousands of migrants to a city like Ciudad Juarez, hoping for a better future, living in shanty-towns and becoming a very easy target for crimes.

According to the lawyer Micheel Salas, on of the lawyers who took Mexico to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights over the deaths of eight women in Juárez City in 2001, states that in 2009 ‘184 killings of women took place, the highest figure since 1993; prostitution has grown 400% in Juárez City and disappearances have also grown 400%; and in March 2010 so far 34 young girls have disappeared.’

Desconocida Unknown Ukjent will continue as long as the situation in Ciudad Juarez remains unchanged and people are willing to participate in the project.
Desonocida Unknown Ukjent has been shown at:
Trondheim Center for Contemporary Art, Tronheim, Norway, 2010, The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, Philadelphia, USA, 2010, Stenersen Museum, Oslo, Norway, 2009, The Gallery at University for Creative Arts, Epsom, UK, 2009, SOFT Gallery, Oslo, Norway, 2008, Luleå Summer Biannial, 2007, The Station Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 2006
Upcoming Venues:
Hå gamle Prestegard, Norway, 2010, The Pallant House Gallery, Chchester, UK, 2010, Chicago Cultural Center, USA, 2011
EPSOM, 2009

How did you find out about the women in Juarez?
The project came about when I in 2005 was invited by the Station Museum of Contemporary art to do a work dedicated to the women in Juarez and their situation. I took a long time considering what I could do. I wanted to create something that would spread the awareness so that we couldn´t stay outside. We can read about the situation in Juarez or similar situations and think “oh its about them” but the essence of what is happening - the abuse of women – is happening everywhere, all over the world. I wanted the work to be a protest, and I wanted it to be a community project, a piece of work made together. Eventually I came to embroidery because I wanted it to be a typical female activity. I wanted it to be connected back to the women but not in a way that celebrated the violence, or focused on the women as victims. I wanted it to be the opposite….

And the name tags?
I think we all have a relationship with names – it is the first think we learn to write and by choosing to embroider the names and by choosing to embroider the name and name tags we would remember that name and connect to that name in a different way. Embroidery is something that is time consuming, almost meditative, and very repetitious in the movement. For me it was also something that traditionally is done with love, For example my grandmother would embroider the names tags for me….

Once each of us has taken the responsibility for embroidering a particular name, it somehow becomes that person. 
This project is also about the embroiderer, who, through embroidering the name of a particular woman, is also leaving their own identity/thumbprint through the embroidery. It is like thousands of thumbprints that I have collected, all the people who have embroidered. Each has left their own handwriting, even if they have only used capital letters, it is still very different from the next one and I think it is interesting what you say that by giving a name we give identity because that is what I see hen I look at the wall of name tags. Not a mass of name tags but each individual one, each with its own dual identity – that of the named and that of the embroiderer.


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