Here come the Women

Eto nam žena
Photo and text collage
The work is part of permanent collection of Biennial of Contemporary Art D-0 ARK Underground, 2015

Created for the Biennial of Contemporary Art D-0 ARK Underground, 2015
Curated by: Adela Demetja, Margarethe Makovec and Anton Lederer
Translation assistance Delaine Le Bas and Andreja Dugandžić
Research for text and text editing in collaboration with Andreja Dugandžić

Visiting Tito’s bunker in Konjic, I observed a total lack of female presence. The only place we could imagine the presence of women in this nuclear catastrophe hideaway space is master bedroom built for Tito and his wife, which includes her makeup table in the corner of the room. Another vestige of female presence appears as a figure on toilet paper instructions for its various uses. She is printed on the original toilet paper placed there in the 70s.

The work relies on research done in collaboration with Andreja Dugandžić, within CRVENA’s Association for Culture and Arts project What has our struggle given us?. The research manifested as an online archive of documents, photographs, books and interviews about the feminist heritage of the Antifascist Front of Women of Yugoslavia, exploring the participation of Yugoslav women in the Second World War and their indispensable contribution to (re)building the Socialist state. The People’s Front decided to abolish the Antifascist Front of Women in 1953 the same year when Atomic War Command (Object ARK) started to be built. A different cold war started for women. Again they were about to be domesticated, placed back into the private sphere of the house, to perform their “natural” roles.

Throughout the difficult years of war, our women were hardworking, both in the army and in the background. They gave all they could, their blood and the blood of their children.

She went to war because war meant freedom.
Long desired days have finally come, no woman should stand aside!
Reconstruction of a destroyed and ravaged country is our most important task. Lets perform it with the same enthusiasm that carried us through all our struggles.
Women are responding to calls for the reconstruction. They perform their jobs with love and awareness that contribute to victory, they show that we will not and can not be shook by havoc and economic difficulties in which we find ourselves.
Women participate in the harshest work.
Today I  carried out one cubic meter of stone, tomorrow I’m carrying out two, because I know that I carry for myself, for our children and for our nation.
We are hungry for work and achievement. Our work is our duty. This is no longer a fight where we spill our blood, we spill our sweat now. We go to work singing. When we work, we work really hard.
A former soldier shows an example of a shock-worker’s commitment. She mastered this machine in a month. Usually it would take at least 6 months.
Our hands are callused from shovels and picks. We are tired from sleepless nights spent at work and in the fight for freedom.
Don’t you know how to read and write?
Female comrades didn’t want to go to literacy courses, because they were ashamed of the male comrades who mocked them.
In the absence of writing materials, she alone made a writing tablet, and instead of a pen she used linden coal, which she found the most suited for writing.
She will speak out, she will speak out. No one will ever again tell her: “Shut up, no one is asking you anything.”
Our woman has evolved so much, that not even she can understand the greatness of  her actions, nor her sacrifices. For these have become so ordinary for her, like breathing, or shifts of  days to nights. She has steeled herself and honed herself to the heavy battles and hard times.
Are you afraid that you will not get democracy? Are you afraid that you will not have the rights for which you fought?
Women are invited to participate in all kinds of work in the new Yugoslavia. There is not a job that is not suited for women, too. But, there are some tasks that have to be accomplished primarily by women.
Today in the economy and in other jobs there are 51,469 women, of whom 31,095 are factory workers. Only 5% of those are qualified. They are almost all childless, unmarried women or mothers of adult children, and therefore do not have rights to various leaves.
She’s a good worker, a physical worker, but it is she who does not rise professionally, and that slows her progress.
Women do domestic work without the help of men and, at the same time, they do the cooperative work.
Some branches of the textile industry, cannot be imagined without women. They are more talented than men for this kind of work. With their working hands, through their handicrafts, women transfer their joys, hopes, successes, events in the history and life, and the sorrow of life.
The issue of working with women is the issue of the battle for a new mother, housekeeper, politically and educationally mature woman. A woman who learns 30 characters, will not become an enlightened woman, mother or housewife.
The party has set out for our organization to bring up the children. To free women, we have to train them to become real builders of socialism, because mothers are the first educators of children.
Neither the school, nor anyone else can provide more to the child than the mother.
We decided to take upon ourselves the care of war orphans, we are their second mothers, because all our children are the hope of our nation.
“I could not take part in the fight. I feel it is my duty to adopt the war orphan. I do not need help from the state.”
When we speak of a woman and her equality, her rights and duties, we always need to see the mother in her, as the question of the future of the country can not be separated from question  about its offspring.
If one does not see a mother in a woman, then the talk about equality becomes an empty phrase.
Sentences from the wall

Exhibition set up, Festival Prvo pa žensko, MKC, Skopje, Macedonia

See online archive here:
Photos from promotional event of CRVENA 08th of March on Google +
Biennial of Contemporary Art D-0 ARK Underground photos of exhibition set up at  Google +
Google + photos of solo exhibition at Festival Prvo pa žensko, MKC, Skopje, Macedonia

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