PINK YOGURT: A Childhood Behind the Iron Curtain – an autobiographical art show
Set against the current backdrop of a similarly chaotic, fast moving political climate in Europe 'PINK YOGURT: A Childhood Behind the Iron Curtain’ is an attempt to go back and explore my personal memories of everyday life and education in the totalitarian system of the former GDR (German Democratic Republic, i.e., East Germany). For almost 3 years I have been working on an art project about school, military education, leisure, retail, individuality versus conformity and also the STASI – within the last years of the GDR – through the eyes of a schoolchild.
Who is the project for?
'PINK YOGURT’ is aimed at the growing up generation – school children that are at the same age as I was at the time of the political change in Germany. But I'm also reaching out to people of my current age and the generation of our parents and grandparents in both Germany and the UK. I am aware that the backgrounds of the particular age groups and individuals differ greatly and therefore the project provides plenty of opportunities for association, identification and discussion for a broad audience.
I'd like to excite or reawaken the awareness of intangible assets such as freedom of press, freedom of travel or the opportunity to develop and flourish as individuals. I’d like to commemorate this particular period of time, build connections between now and then and inspire people to appreciate today's social and political values which are increasingly becoming fragile again.
I have approached the illustration of my recorded memories like a contextual inventory. My work is not supposed to assess or judge but to highlight aspects which aren't necessarily pointed out in official chronicles of GDR history. It's meant to convey a child’s innocent point of view on the last years of the GDR up until 1989 with the occasional wink.
I produced drawings, paintings, animations and installations using objects and technical equipment to be shown in the show at Prospect Gallery at Hull City Centre. Additional to my own work I have organized drawing workshops with year 3 and year 4 schoolchildren in schools around Hull to share with them the historical background of the divided Germany, the Berlin Wall and my life in the GDR. They produced around 250 individual artworks which also will be shown as part of my exhibition.
Although I was up to this point able to fund the production of a body of work by myself or through in kind donations, I will need the funding which I am trying to achieve through this campaign to make my final exhibition as interesting and engaging as possible. The money would be used to purposely fit the gallery space, print panels and info materials, build displays and provide technical equipment.
I made a promise to the children I worked with in the schools of Hull for them to come to a dedicated private view and see how their individual small artworks come together in a large piece of art made by them when I divided them into two groups – one representing East Germany and the other representing West Germany.
Without any additional funding I won’t be able to take the final step and share my work as I intended.
My thanks go to Andrew Fairbank and Christopher Wiles from Hull College, School of Creative Arts, for supporting my idea, for being honest and critical and therefore helping me realize it during the last years. Also, thanks to my family and friends who have been putting up with me, listening patiently to my spills during the process and Prospect Shopping Centre Hull for kindly providing the gallery space for us.
Sandra Holle, www.colormoods.co.uk