February 15, 2017

Kwatta Girl

Batik Statement Stage

Banners with my 'We Can Do It'-Statement

During the Culture Night on 27 January 2017 in Breda (NL) I made live Batik Statements*. I did projects with my Batik Statements before, fashionshows and photoshoots**, but I never created them on stage.
I was invited for this event with the title 'Colourful Women Power'. The event organised by IDFX used one of my Batik Statements for their communication. My 'We Can Do It' Statement*** was on flyers, posters and even on banners at the door. Strange and complimentary to see a photo of yourself used to make a statement again.
The event was to show different crafts done by women that were a bit out of the box. There was a lady making jewellery from bones, ladies who brew their own beer named "pussybeer" ("Kutbier" in Dutch) or with chocolate flavor and ladies making soap from leather.
Next to the newer crafts, there was also a more historical view of women on the labor market. This was were my statements came in.
With two different 'performances' I showed life of the factory girls from the chocolate factory Kwatta (in Breda, NL). These girls that were the first women in the Netherlands to start working in factories around 1920s.
This is seen today as an empowering event, but was at that time seen in a different light. A priest started an organisation run by women to help factory girls. These 'catechists' were mostly young women who wanted to help from a Catholic ideology without becoming an actual nun. The 'catechists' went to factories to teach the girls Catholic values by combining it with practical knowledge. They used the girls break-time, which the girls would normally skip because you got paid by piece and not by the hour. In the break-time they teach table manners and later the 'catechist' gave all sorts of courses learning meanly to run a household. The factory girls maybe didn't need protection or being saved, but the 'catechists' were in a way empowering themselves. They could teach, work in society, be part of it, instead of the monastic lifestyle that would have been the normal path for them.
I was lucky to have the wonderful Steph Byrne as my model. She bravely ate sandwiches with chocolate spread in front of a crowd with knife and fork. Together we showed factory life vs running a household in an ironic iron loop.
It was a lovely experience and happy to share it here with you, enjoy the photos!

#foodie is the new prayer


Assembly line****


* See more 'Batik Statements
** I did two 'Batik Statement Fashionshows', one in 2013 and one in 2015 and  two 'Batik Statement Photoshoots'
*** My birthday BatikDay Statement 'We Can Do It!' from 2015 
**** Photos made by Surya de Wit, thanks!


  1. Wat leuk, dat had ik wel willen zien!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Beste Helmi,
      Dankje, was ook erg leuk om te doen. Wellicht bij een volgende keer :)