© Henriikka Kontimo 2008-2023

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performative installation
paper, water, ink wash, pencil, discussions, water, the act of splashing

Mazzano Romano, Italy

The work consists of 32 portraits of the hands of the people in Mazzano Romano. The drawings are placed in the communal washing place, the lavatoio).

Many people in Mazzano have done manual labour for most of their lives. A person's whole life is recorded on one's body in its shape and in its tendencies and abilities to react, endure, and engage.

Washing laundry outdoors by hand is a heavy manual task that leaves marks on your body, especially your hands. Many of the hands that I have drawn have been washing laundry at the old lavatory, decades ago when it was still in use. Many people told me how they had come to the lavatory with their parents. It had been the place especially for women to gather together. The place, which to me seemed just a beautiful architectural structure that offered relief from the heat in the summer heat, came to life through people's stories.

When washing the laundry, people had been rubbing their laundry clean on the edges of the pool. I arranged my drawings of the hands into the edges, in the same places where many of the hands had been doing the laundry. Throughout the days when the work was displayed, I continuously splashed water onto the ink drawings to keep them wet in the excruciating summer heat. Even though the splashing was lighter work than the actual washing of the laundry, it was still an act that referred to the act of washing.

Thank you: Riikka Pelo, Kanerva Matveinen, Milla Eklund and the models: Leonina, Leonardo, Simone, Tito, Gigi, Rigi, Daniele, Werner, Cai, Christel, Carla, Paolo, Gaia, Francesca, Franco, Valeria, Anna, Lina, Fabrizio, Alberta, Roberta, Giovanni, Elisa, Odietta, David, Domenico, Dorin, Rocco, Pino and Eliseo

Supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland