It's no secret that we love some quality arts and crafts here at BUST. We'll take embroidery hoops, knitting needles, and paper mache over just about anything else. What's even better than DIY-ing for fun, though, is putting your crafty skills to good use! Danish artist Hanne Bang is spearheading a project called "In A War Someone Has to Die," which is a transnational effort to unite women against a common enemy: war. Bang seeks to collect handkerchiefs embroidered with the titular phrase by women across the world and join the textiles into one cloth, a final art piece that Bang describes as a wall blanket.
The project is in reaction to an interview the artist saw on TV in which a professional African soldier answers the question 'Are you afraid of dying?' with the response: "No, I am not afraid of dying. In a war someone has to die." The soldier was interviewed during a peaceful lull in his region that meant he was currently unemployed and hoping for a new conflict to begin. Horrified at the soldier's flippant response, Bang began to conceptualize her project.
That war targets women and children in specific ways is not news. That people will die in a war isn't either. What the artist struggles with is the reality that many women must send loved ones, or must enter themselves, into wars that are being waged for sport, with little attention to the human cost. By soliciting handkerchiefs in women's native languages, Bang hopes to build solidarity amongst women across regional and national borders. In her chosen medium, which is evocative of women's work in many cultures worldwide, Bang is attempting to draw a distinction between the masculine enterprise of war summed up by the soldier's harsh words and the feminine sacrifices and consequences of living in a war-torn place.
Bang's project reminds me of the 1995 United Nations Conference on Women. In their documentary Beyond Beijing, filmmakers Shirini Heerah and Enrique Berrios catalogue the largest global gathering of women in recorded history. An effort called Women Weaving the World Together, which was instigated by Filipino delegates to the forum, successfully collected textiles from many of the event's attendees and produced a multicultural quilt of experiences to commemorate the occasion and to celebrate the universal female experience.
Now, almost 20 years later, Bang seeks to do the same. The completed project will be displayed at Charlottenborg Art Center in Copenhagen later this year.
To learn more about the project and how you can get involved, visit the project's Facebook page.
Image source unpac.ca