Ta Proikiá: dowry, noun /ˈdaʊri/
A marriage institution that traditionally defined women’s lives. A life’s work, a family’s investment, a wedding’s price tag and proof of merit.
The traditional dowry is reinvented: cross-stitching patterns that miss a stitch or two, tangling the threads and diving into the holes made by my grandmother’s needles. The old ways are getting a trim, memories are revisited, and the family’s handiwork unravels.
FIRST ROOM Inheritance is the starting point. In the first room of the exhibition, diverse materials and techniques put a twist on the traditional dowry.
ETERNAL The dowry tradition is handed down over generations. A tablecloth, made with love by the grandmother for her daughter or granddaughter, is mounted on a magnified embroidery hoop, projecting the significance of such a responsibility in all women’s lives.
LACEBLOT TEST Flowers made with embroidered lace are displayed in a variety of repeating patterns. They are perceived differently by each viewer who can choose to interpret them in their own way. Inspired by the “Rorschach inkblot test”
FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLY The butterfly is out of the cocoon. A woman now, she is spreading her wings. Her fluttering splashes optimistic colors and the traditional family tableware is thrown off balance.
SECOND ROOM In the second room, the visitors stand still. They are invited to observe and empathize with the women of the past and the constraint brought upon them.
TEARS The grandparents’ wedding portrait. Two young people, who don’t know one another, forced to spend the rest of their life together. The fear of the unknown away from her family is present in the grandmother’s eyes. She will have to create her new family with a stranger and without any previous experience or knowledge.
WAITING A woman standing in front of closed shutters captive and living in isolation, marriage becomes the only way out. Is it really her way out? Or, will she soon be standing behind another closed window? Will she be able to prevent her own daughter from the same kind of isolated life?
85 85 knitting needles, as many as the grandmother’s years, are strongly attracted to magnets. Knitting has drained her life, filling her with both hope and sorrow.
THIRD ROOM When the viewers finally arrive in the third room, catharsis awaits. In here, a more personal resolution is shared and the dowry of a modern era is being created. A dowry rooted in tradition yet influenced by new ideals, the freedom of choice and expression, love, companionship, knowledge, music, creativity.
A unique dowry… the sea, music, knowledge, freedom, choice, love, physical activity, creativity, friendship, transformation, family, and so much more…
YOU Your dowry…you.
SWANS The swan, a symbol of beauty, faith, balance and pure spirit. The ugly duckling sees its reflection on the lake and realizes how beautiful and unique it is. When our own black and white swans find balance, an egg appears signifying rebirth.
11-21 December 2014