In Leipzig, in residence at LIA, I was inspired by, the clothing style of the GDR, the aprons worn by women who worked at the former Leipziger Baumwollspinnerei (cotton-spinning mill). The adornment, the buttons, the cut etc. Working women in the GDR were typically identified by the kittel schürze (apron). Worn at work and at home. The kittel schürze had an inexhaustible variety of shapes, patterns and colours, and was usually made of Dederon, the GDR-variant of nylon. Strong, easy to wash, quick-drying and no ironing required. Disadvantage: airtight, so prone to sweat and causes body odour.
In 2019, I worked for 3 months at the Internationales Sommeratelier Aschersleben. A town not far from Leipzig. The history of the site, the former papierwarenfabrik (paper factory) incited me making new drawings. The information I gained from the city archive gave me also an inside of the Jewish women who worked in the factory. Particularly the story of Edith Hahn Beer. Her book The Jewish Bride, chapter 6 The slave girls of Aschersleben, treats life and work at the Bestehorn papierwarenfabrik. This inspired me to work on a new series of drawings under the title Sara, paper-doll-boxes and a series of collages with pay envelope and photo's of the papierwarenfabrik.
In the exhibition in occasion of International Women's Day in Rotterdam, the Netherlands I show some of the Kittel Schürze series. The choice of the drawings for the exhibition has also to do with the origin of International Women's Day. A strike by women on March 8, 1908 in New York directed against the poor working conditions in the textile industry and was the beginning of the struggle for women's emancipation and against inequality. The German women's rights activist Clara Zetkin did later the proposal to proclaim March 8 as International Women's Day. In Leipzig, I often cycled through the park named after her.