SEÑORITAUGARTE: Maternidad(es) intercambio / Exchange of Maternity(ies)
Performance 6.10.2016 at 17.00.
Also 8.10. at 15.30. at the bus stop number 16 in front of Lidl Eerikinkatu 4
The central market square of Turku, quite windy and a bit chilly Finnish autumn. The sun is shining, so it’s one of the better fall days, lucky for the spectators and the artist. I wait eagerly for the performance to start, it’s my first time trying to put a whole show such as this to words afterwards. There’s not that much of a crowd, just a few people stopped to observe this piece, probably people who actually came to see her. Most are just passing by without paying any attention to the artist starting to set up her things on the ground. (Feels like typical Finnish behavior, I feel cold, is it the wind and the temperature, or is it the indifference?)
She lays out about 1x2m sized gold covered plastic sheet on the cobblestone floor of the market square, in this wind it’s not that easily achieved so it takes it’s time. I’m pondering if I should go help, but I decide to just observe, ’cause that’s why I’m here. After getting the sheet on the ground, she lays out children’s clothes on the golden sheet. Different kinds of young child’s clothes, looks like they are all girl’s clothes, but I can’t see clear enough to be sure. The sheet becomes about half covered with the clothes, when she is done setting up the clothes she brings out a cardboard sign. With silver spray paint she writes on to the sign “IMMIGRANT”.
(Mother and an immigrant without her child, my sympathies grow and a song lyrics come to my mind ; “They’re gonna punish me for something I didn’t do…”)
She picks up the sign, holds it in front of her and starts speaking (shouting actually, to be heard) in Spanish. I don’t know exactly what she is saying, something about being an immigrant for sure, but everything else escapes my understanding of Spanish (I’m later explained her words, but at the moment of the performance I had little to no clue). Still no reaction from the passerby people, not sure if someone stopped to watch or if everyone in the crowd was here from the start. She continues shouting about maternity and immigrant for few minutes, I think most of the meaning is lost due to the language barrier. (Feels like she really wants everyone to know that she’s an immigrant and a mother. But the gold sheet intrigues me, what’s with the gold?)
The performance ends abruptly, people clap and she converses with some of the observers. I restrain myself from talking to her, not wanting her explanations influence my experience. (I don’t know what to think about, or what to feel about this. Should I?) It’s still cold, colder then it was before the performance. Is it the feeling, or the weather?
Text and photo by Ari Aaltonen