Your Things” is a 20-meter-long textile collage created at the Center for Foreigners in Łuków by female Chechen refugees who are living at the center while waiting to be granted international protection. The piece was created as part of a grant from the Feminist Fund, carried out in cooperation with the “Dla Ziemi” Association and based on an idea and design by Pamela Bożek.
The starting point for the work was a collection of clothing for refugees from the center in Łuków, organized by the artist in 2019. Too many items of clothing were donated and some didn’t suit the needs of the center’s residents. The artist proposed that the surplus items be cut up and sewn together into a single piece of fabric.
Chechen refugees combined the pieces based on their color, personal associations, or whether they had child-like, boyish or feminine characteristics. Some parts of the fabric are narrative in character. It was sewn from things that once belonged to strangers from Poland, but at the same time, items that came from sweatshops in the Far East that run on low-paid female labor. Sewing brought people together across borders. It revealed the differences between visible and invisible labor. The work of artists is sometimes appreciated socially and publicly exhibited, while the labor of sweatshop workers remains concealed within the capitalist system, and is often treated as worthless.
Pamela Bożek says: The fabric is built from the remains and provokes its reading; translation from context to context, from one language to another, just like the names of women entered in successive border control systems. In this sense, sewing these textiles together is the ‘weaving of social relations,’ combining things that were once alien to one another. It exemplifies what the American historian and anthropologist James Clifford called ‘the poetics of displacement.’”
(b. 1991) – visual artist. She collaborates with small communities and publishes the quarterly “WIZA-VIS” [VISA-VIS], co-created by female and male refugees. Bożek is the co-author of the bookbinding project “Notesy from Łuków” [Notebooks from Łuków], which provides financial support to refugees in Poland. Recipient of the of the second Bogna Olszewska Scholarship from the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.
Rok powstania: 2019
textile. Courtesy of the artist.