• Pussy hat and suffragettes

    8 mars, 2017 | Föremål, Samlande | 0 kommentarer

    On March 8th, International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world. To honor this day, we are acquiring a so-called pussy hat to the collections.

    On Women’s Day, the Swedish women’s network I Can’t Keep Quiet/Göteborg held a demonstration in Gothenburg, Sweden in the form of a flash mob with a choir. A week before the demonstration, they gathered at The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg to practice the song they would sing. Participants wore pussy hats and held knitting workshops throughout the evening (see images and video below). Because the hat represents a comtemporary global issue, it will soon become a part of the collections of The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden.

    New acquisitions from global issues

    In the past few years, The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden has acquired some objects related to contemporary global issues. We have for example collected objects related to the refugee crisis and human trafficking, which are currently on view in the exhibition Crossroads at The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg. The exhibition includes life jackets from Lesbos, Greece collected by Doctors Without Borders in 2016, as well as ladders used to climb over walls from North Africa into the Spanish enclave of Melilla.

    Pateran, 2008.01.0001, Photo: National Museums of World Culture, Sweden / Ina Marie Winther Ashaug (cc-by)

    In Crossroads you can also see the blue wooden ship Pateran which, according to eyewitnesses, brought 25 illegal migrants to the Almerian coast in southern Spain in 2004. Generally the police burn abandoned boats, but this boat was evidence in a human trafficking case. We acquired the boat for the exhibition Trafficking. For the exhibition Horizons – Voices from a Global Africa, we collaborated with The National Museums of Kenya to collect two parallel collections of contemporary objects from Nairobi. One collection is now housed with us and one is in Nairobi.

    In 2004-2007, we exhibited a so-called AIDS quilt in the exhibition No Name Fever – AIDS in the Era of Globalization at both The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg and at Red Location Museum in Port Elisabeth, South Africa. We borrowed the quilt from The National Federation of Noah’s Ark in Stockholm, who then in 2010 donated memory boxes and AIDS quilts to our collections. The quilts are sewn to honor and remember loved ones who have died of AIDS. Today, thanks to the creation of antiretroviral medicine, people do not die of AIDS in as large numbers. And now that they are in the collections of The National Museum of World Culture, we can remember how the epidemic effected Sweden and the world in the 1980s and 90s. While the objects are made in Sweden, they are part of a global context that exists all over the world.

    What is a Pussy hat?

    Choir practice and pussy hats on the stairs of The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg on March 1, 2017. Photo: The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden / Ina Marie Winther Ashaug (cc-by)

    The pink pussy hat also represents a global issue and movement. On January 21, 2017 the demonstration Women’s March was held in Washington, DC protesting USA’s newly appointed president Donald Trump’s attitudes and actions against refugees, women, and the HBTQ community. The musician Milck performed her song Quiet during the demonstration, surrounded by protesters wearing pink pussy hats. The hats with cat ears orginate in, and represent, Trump’s controversial sexist remark ”grab her by the pussy” in which he suggest that celebrities such as himself can do whatever they want to women. On March 8th 2017 a choir manifestation took place in central Gothenburg. A week prior, the women’s network I Can’t Keep Quiet/Göteborg gathered at The Museum of World Culture to knit hats and practice the song Quiet. Now, the museum would like to collect one or more of the hats worn at the demonstration on March 8th in Gothenburg.

    It’s not the first time…

    Suffragette banners from Women’s Library in London on view in the exhibition Take Action (2008-2009) at The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg. Photo: The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden / Ferenc Schwetz (cc-by)

    This is not the first time The Museum of World Culture in Gothenburg exhibits the strength and power of women’s struggle for equality, and how it often takes the form of handicraft activism. In the exhibition Take Action – 83 Ways to Change the World (2008-2009), we showed suffragette flags from England. We displayed sewn messages from visitors displayed outside the museum. That women use traditional forms of female expression, such as embroidery and knitting, to express their views in the public sphere is a global movement that has grown strong during the past ten to fifteen years.

    The Acquisition of the Pussy hat

    The pussy hat stands for freedom, democracy and equal rights. These are also some of the basic fundamentals of The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden. That’s why we hope that someone would like to contribute his/her story and hat – to help us preserve this movement spreading across the world in 2017. We want to collect a painstakingly knitted, crocheted or sewn pussy hat that has proudly been worn in the demonstration on March 8th. The hat and story will enter the collections so that future generations can gain insight into the movement and how it manifested itself in 2017.

    Instructions for Donating a Pussy hat

    Do you want to be part of creating a lasting material and immaterial imprint for future generations? Write your story and send it to Anna.Javer@varldskulturmuseerna.se latest by Sunday, March 19th. You will receive confirmation of your e-mail and, if applicable, instructions on where to send your hat.

    Knit your own Pussy hat

    Handicraft activism at The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg. Photo: The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden / Ina Marie Winther Ashaug (cc-by)

    Size: M/L.
    Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted (210 yd per 100 grams), in Fuchsia Pink, 1 skein (any shade of PINK & any worsted weight yarn will do)
    Needles: US 8/ 5mm straight
    Gauge: 18 sts and 23 rows = 4” in St st
    Finished size: before seaming 11” wide and 17 1/4” long
    Pattern:
    CO 50 sts. Leave a long tail for seaming.
    Rib: K1 * k2, p2; rep from * end p1.
    Work Rib for 4 1/4”.
    Work in Stockinette (knit right side rows, purl wrong side rows) until piece measures 13” from cast on edge. Begin Rib on right side row.
    Rib: P1 * p2, k2; rep from * end k1.
    Work Rib for 4 1/4”. Piece measures 17 1/4” from cast on edge.
    Bind off all stitches. Cut yarn leaving a long tail for seaming.
    Fold hat in half and sew each side seam. Weave in loose ends.

    Put on hat, and the cat ears will appear!

    Source: Pussyhatproject

    För equal rights!

    The choir at The Museum of World Culture, Gothenburg, March 1, 2017:

    Main image: portait of Käthe Engström who has been active in women’s issues since the 1970s. Photo: The National Museums of World Culture, Sweden / Ina Marie Winther Ashaug (cc-by)