Translucent Power – Liyana Fuad, Nonay Yoanisarah, Lashita Situmorang (Yogyakarta)

„Translucent Power“ is a collaborative exhibition project, consisting „A Sewing Memoir“, „Domestic Performativity“ and „Fertile Land”.

With A Sewing Memoir, Nona Yoanishara portrays two women who talk about their very personal situation during the pandemic, but also look back on past crises. They speak about losing their job due to the pandemic, about how to secure their living as a single mother and self-employed person, how not to lose courage while living through difficult times and finding the strength to get involved for others.

All thoughts and stories were poured into a collectively created patchwork made of remnants from the idle textile factories. Reassembled into a usable strip of fabric the leftovers were turned into a designer piece on the one hand and into an everyday object, a hygienic mask, on the other. The act of recycling and upcycling can be seen as care work in more than one sense - care for disadvantaged groups, such as workers in the markets to whom masks were distributed, as well as for the women involved, who were given a hearing and work through the project. Besides, the project subtly questions our relation to the clothing industry and waste in the capitalist world.

With: Ibu Bambang (52), Tailor, Ibu Endang (52), Tailor, Ibu Sri Muhayati (80)

With Domestic Performativity, Lashita Situmorang is continuing her research on the most popular piece of clothing for women in Indonesia - the 'Daster' (a kind of house dress), which she started with the project 'Clothing as a State of Power: Daster'. With a loose cut, made of soft and, above all, opaque material, the 'Daster' is a practical piece of clothing that stands for freedom of movement and comfort. It is often derogatory referred to as "housewife"-clothing and thus becomes a uniform and a symbol for domestic life and work. Lashita Situmorang puts the garment at the centre of her research and work and thereby pays tribute to the protagonists of domestic life in the patriarchal system of Indonesia; the women who are otherwise made invisible behind the role of the housewife and whose work is not acknowledged. By a simple change of perspective, the reappropriation of the 'Daster', it becomes an expression of individuality and identity. In artist led workshops, the participants designed and sewed their own adaptation of the 'Daster'. This gesture of re-appropriating the dress gives it a new value, an act of self-empowerment

In the resulting video performance, we see a highly abstracted model of a 'daster' - transparent and bulky, it does not fit in with its intended role. It refuses its function and makes visible what otherwise remains concealed. In a kind of ritual, through gestures of putting on and taking off, by measuring the garment, the social attitude to domestic and private care work, but also to the female body, are up for renegotiation.

Performer: Komang Ira

Fertile Land deals with discrimination and prejudice against women who do not conform to certain norms and ideals of beauty, but also to social expectations such as being a mother. This work was developed with a group of women affected with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age. It may cause infrequent menstrual periods or excess male hormone (androgen) levels. Since being diagnosed with PCOS herself, Liyana Fuad developed an interest in how food and lifestyle can influence health. “Fertile Land” deals with the prejudice and discrimination women are facing, when affected with symptoms such as increased body hair, acne, weight gain and infertility. The outcome of the participative research is a recipe book, educational material that accompany the centrepiece – a sculpture that combines features of a medical anatomy model with the exuberant pose of a laughing woman and illustrates PCOS-specific symptoms in an abstract manner.

Liyana Fuad, Nonay Yoanisarah and Lashita Situmorang are artists and feminist activists based in Yogyakarta (IDN). Their professional backgrounds lie in fashion design, culinary, health research, visual arts and crafts. They have participated in various exhibition projects and are part of the New-Media Artist Collective called House of Natural Fiber (HONF). For their collaborative exhibition project Translucent Power, they each produced research-based projects that involved different communities of women from different generations and that address issues such as taboos, politics, culture, gender and healthcare in Indonesia from a female perspective.

Translucent Power was exhibited in September 2021 at Nandur Srawung in Yogyakarta in cooperation with HONF Foundation, Artpresso, Nandur Srawung (Taman Budaya Yogyakarta) & IIN - Inkubator Inisiatif.