Webinar "Alexandra Kollontai, Kreenholm factory and feminist art"
How to conceptualise the links between Alexandra Kollontai, Kreenholm factory in Narva, contemporary feminist art and the history of working-class women in Estonia?
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Alexandra Kollontai described her visit to the Kreenholm Textile Manufactory in 1896 as a ‘turning point’ in her life. At that time, Kreenholm was one of the largest and most modern textile factories in the Russian Empire, employing ca 7000 workers, most of whom were women. During her visit, Alexandra Kollontai witnessed dire conditions of workers who were secluded to noisy and air polluted production aisles for up to 16 hours a day, and she saw a child dying on the floor of the nursery. There, Kollontai understood that workers do not only need relief in terms of better working equipment, but they need a fundamental change against being exploited within the economic relations of capitalism.
During the early 20th century and throughout the Soviet period, the impact of the Kreenholm visit to Kollontai’s political biography was commonly known in Estonia, whereas in the recent three decades it has been forgotten. However, nowadays, Kreenholm factory has become an important locus of feminist art. Kreenholm has become a platform for bringing the discussions on working women’s history and rights to the foreground. Artists Maria Kapajeva, Marge Monko and Eléonore de Montesquiou have cast light onto the complex history of the factory and problematized the social effects of its closure.
In her presentation, art critic and curator Piret Karro will create a narrative arc from Kollontai’s visit to Kreenholm to the contemporary art that is created there nowadays. Artists Maria Kapajeva, Marge Monko and Eléonore de Montesquiou will respond with their comments.
This conversation is part of the online event series Learning from Alexandra Kollontai, organized by Airi Triisberg, Giovanna Esposito Yussif and Egija Inzule. The event series seeks to strengthen networks between intersectional feminist art practitioners in the Baltic and Nordic region. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The webinars are co-hosted by regional art and feminist organisations: Feministeerium (Tallinn), Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (Nida), Museum of Impossible Forms (Helsinki), Emma Social Center (Kaunas), cultural and political hub Luna6 (Vilnius), Дом Культуры Розы / Rosa’s House of Culture (St. Petersburg) and mobile Festival Y?!
The network activities are supported by Nordic Culture Point.
The event “Alexandra Kollontai, Kreenholm factory and feminist art” is hosted by Feministeerium and also supported by Ministry of Social Affairs.
More info and links to the artworks discussed on FB: https://www.facebook.com/events/1831894353640375/
Image credits: Laura Vilbiks