Musaj te Dzav (I Must Go):
the skirt component
Skirt project artists are Hedina Tahirovic Sijercic, Monica Bodirsky, Riel Brown, and Lynn Hutchinson Lee.
about the skirts
The skirt component of chirikli collective’s Musaj te Dzav is based on the forced migration of the Roma, following a historical trajectory that ends in present-day Canada. Through their work the project artists speak to the resilience, strength and humanity of the Romani people. The ‘prologue’ of the project is referenced in Europe, where many of the events whose images and texts we project, print, and affix onto the skirts have taken place (from the Holocaust/ Porrajmos up to current human rights abuses and systemic racism and exclusion, including neo-Nazi violence).
The heart of the project is an installation of five to eight skirts, a repository for present and historical narrative. Skirts traditionally represent the power of Romani women, with the potential to pollute or defile in a community context; but we transpose this power, showing defilement by forces external to the community (such as racism, forced migration) rather than from within. Furthermore, we use the skirts to show women’s strength, awareness, and hope.
The multimedia skirts are constructed of fabric, paper, thread. Riel Brown’s skirt is made of barbed wire, reflecting the detention centres where Roma may be kept prior to deportation from Canada. Others are built of gampi paper with konnyaku paste to stiffen, mould or sculpt the paper. Gampi paper, with its strong fabric-like qualities, is pleated, folded, sewn.
The red skirt, ‘Kon Dikhes/Who Do You See?’ was made by Hedina and Lynn in Sarajevo, and resides there. All other skirts were made in Toronto.