International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. In different regions, the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation, and love towards women for their economic, political, and social achievements. To mark the occasion, artist Olek joined forces with humanitarian NGO Maitri in a public art performance in New Delhi, India.
Last November, Olek was horrified to learn that one-third of men in India, where spousal rape is legal, admit to having forced a sexual act on their wives. The Polish-born street artist, well known for her candy colored crocheted installations featured in Hi-Fructose Vol. 29, had to do something. “I decided to make a statement about it and show my solidarity with women here in Delhi, India and anywhere else in the world,” she shared in an email to Hi-Fructose.
The project used crochet as a medium to demonstrate women’s ability to multi-task, recreate and reinvent themselves. “I started with a solo performance in front of India gate. The black ribbon covering my eyes symbolizes how blind the west is to women’s situation in India. Then I moved to Central Park, CP New Delhi, and joined 25 women with various backgrounds in public action.” Her mission with Maitri is to create awareness and bring about change, furthering and improving the rights of women in India.
“We feel passionate about celebrating the power and potential of women and will do this by demonstrating that like art, women can and should always be confidently recreating themselves. Women play an important role in society and in India,” Olek says.
“We were crocheting by unraveling the white aprons in a continuous loop over the course of two hours. The artwork was thus destroyed as it was created, and created out of its own destruction in an infinite circle. Like the perpetual punishments of Sisyphus and Prometheus, a woman’s work is never finished.”