Report of the winter journey in December 2017
I am back from Kabul. Three days I stayed in the villages on the Shomali plain, one day per village, to be exact, where I met each of the embroiderers. I paid them for their embroideries that they had handed in last time, commented on their new works handed in now, and gave them threads and cloth for the upcoming quarter.
Since February 2016,
we have been staying in the villages, instead of returning to Kabul, which is advantageous in various ways: The highest safety risks are encountered on the roads; the less you need to travel on the roads, the less is the danger of being stopped, robbed or kidnapped. The winter days are very short and when you stay in the village, you will get the most out of a day’s work. The first hours of a day are very cold this time of the year, so it is hard for the women to leave the house, and the working day starts rather late, around 9.30 a.m. Then they meet in the courtyard or, in winter, in the house of an embroiderer who has enough room. Moreover, you spend the evening with your host family, so you can spend a more relaxed time with them and learn about their ways of life.
The cold has arrived.
From 5 p.m., when it starts getting dark, to 10 a.m. it is very intense. After that, the sun gets stronger and warms the people who are still drowsy from spending the night under warm blankets, and who now have to move about in a room of 5 – 8 degrees Celsius. Thus, it is important to boil water and prepare tea in thermos flasks for the whole day. This is a job for the girls of each family.
The sort of fuel used depends on each family’s standard of life. From collected twigs and branches or dried cow dung, pati, to gas containers that are something modern and special. With these three embroideries from Meshgan and a few pictures I am trying to present this reality : production, drying, storage and use of pati in the kitchen, thousands of miles away from our modern kitchens.
At the end of this year, something new can be found on our website: We are presenting a small selection of works from embroiderers, whose art shows a special individual and distinctive “handwriting”. This presentation proves the positive, successful development of our adventurous programme. You will find it directly here at the Shomali project gallery.
During my last talk with Khaled before leaving his country, he expressed his “confidence” for the future: In 2017, the death toll on all sides (army, police, Taliban, IS, civilians) has been higher than ever before, so it could not possible get any worse in 2018.
With this not quite positive message I want to wish you a year 2018 that is far away from the current tragedy of a never-ending war in that part of the world. In this course I am happy to remind you of our current competition Keep your eye on the planet, for which the embroiderers have produced lentil-formed embroideries with eye-motifs.
All the best,
You can download the entire report as a pdf-file in the right upper corner.