Ulla-Britt Henrikssons kulturstipendium 2021
The board of Mothers in Residence split up to read these applications that came in, but in conversations with Rasmus, it was obvious that Mamma X must have it. Mother X is invisible, must not have a name, must not be seen in the picture, must not have a voice or be shown for her talent or even own her own story as an individual - for the safety of her and her son.
Image from Rasmus Persson
It seems that there is an art in being able to mention the gender issues and dangers women live with because it is so invisible, and not very interesting because there are those who do not even believe in it. That the issue of gender equality is exaggerated, that women exaggerate and lie. Like living with violence, or the threat of violence, like not being able to go home in the evening without being afraid. Not being able to come home without being afraid, or not even being able to leave their home - women without a voice carrying an important story.
Not everyone talks about it, it's too hard to talk about, it's hard to think about, what solution is there? Politically and legally, it seems cumbersome to do anything about it. Women can go under a secret identity, but this after far too much pain - to get help via the Swedish legal community is difficult .. to even get the right to a restraining order takes time and is not even approved in many cases, and it requires enormous effort to even be able to make a report. If one get it approved though? Then you may be safe, but of course you must remain invisible. These women and children's issues are raised this year when mothers are allowed to share their story in a private space via the Ulla-Britt Henriksson's cultural scholarship, which Rasmus Persson on his own initiative does every year in memory of his mother who was a musician, but put it career on the shelf in order to be a mother. So especially this year, when we are told that domestic violence has increased during the pandemic. Through art and music we can express ourselves, but no - not everyone is allowed to do that. But we are all grateful for the individuals who create something, who have managed to show something, who make us feel and increase in understanding of someone else's situation, sometimes even our own - therefor expressions and voices are always needed! Like when someone takes the time to make art out of their experience,
sharpened keys (Isa Andersson), photos, drawings, poetry and texts about these experiences and also just be able to own the expression of fear. Fear that we often prefer to hide - for fear holds hand with shame.
We have spoken within the association MiR about themes within our discussion groups (crit groups), books or societal issues as themes. Because we want to shed light on the issue of gender equality in the practice of art, who gets to be seen the most, who is heard and who actually becomes the one who stays in Sweden's art memory, who can continue to work seemingly undisturbed all life .. And how we can work develop a platform with simple means to catch up with their artistry during motherhood. But discussion about Mother X, the most invisible of all women, mothers living in a protected identity is so difficult. For who reaches her, and who does she reach out to?
From Rasmus Persson's announcement of Ullabritt Henriksson's Cultural Scholarship 2021 "Notes from my conversation with Mother X" There's a mother sitting in the woods. Alone with a six-year-old. Which went on until the little legs did not bear. And now you do not know when he goes again. There's a mother sitting in the woods. Located there. Thirty miles from the nearest store. Without a driver's license. Without roots. Without relief. She was a promising athlete once. Could have attended athletics high school. Chose nature. Cartoon amazing pictures. She was happy. So heavenly happy. Had met the world's cutest guy. There was no one like him. Everyone said so. And that would be them. There's a mother sitting in the woods. She used to sit in the house. His house. Sat there constantly. Did not get to go from there. Do not meet their friends, his friends, his mother or sister. Not anyone. Not ever. Only he.
She went to the store he followed with the car. She washed when he was out "Did she destroy the evidence of her infidelity?" That was how he screamed. Before he hit her. Often. Hard. Boss, good salary, appreciated at work. One who always shows up. One that never erupts. Yes. The world's cutest guy. Everyone said so. And they had a boy. An ugly soft boy. Who could not even talk, that first time when he threw a contract train for Dad to quit. And the boy went to the wall And the boy stood up again. There's a mother sitting in the woods. She took her angel in her arms one day and ran. When he found them that time he dragged her by the hair on the gravel path and tried strangle her to death. The boy watched The boy was thrown into the car And so they did back to the house. His house. Their prison. Once knocked mother-in-law at the door "You're not the first girl," she whispered “Think of yourself and the boy” There's a mother sitting in the woods. She sometimes draws. It's the only time she remembers who she was. Who she was before him. There's a mother sitting in the woods. She fled again. Got sheltered accommodation but the same city. New apartment every month. And the boy began to limp.
On the X-rays it was clear the whole hip and groin was kicked off and the boy was given a wheelchair. The father demanded supervised calls had the authority on its side. You can lose custody sa dom. There's a mother sitting in the woods. With a boy who no longer sleeps. Pooping on. Peeing themselves. See the ghosts behind every corner. There's a mother sitting in the woods and it is she. She who has to force the boy into the taxi. She who must leave him. Leave him with the ghost. There's a mother sitting in the woods. she is the strongest in the world but sometimes she wonders if they are alive or already dead. There's a mother sitting in the woods. She deserves a statue a star on the street an hour of a fucking documentary on SVT. There's a mother sitting in the woods a hero a survivor a winner. But we must not even utter her name. Ullabritt Henriksson's Cultural Scholarship 2021 goes to her. We can call her Mother X.
"Dear mothers, This will never be easier. This is only getting harder. This time, the harvest landed on well over five hundred letters. Letters that I have spent the last few months reading, learning from, crying for and being strengthened by. You are so huge. You are so incredible. So indescribably important. I wish I was a millionaire, because every single one of you is so heavenly worth not only my scholarship but so much more. You are worthy of time for recovery, a studio space, a cultural support, encouragement and recognition. But I want to hope that the action itself is also significant. To nominate oneself, or for that matter - to be nominated by someone else. I want to think that it can be a visualisation in itself. Because you are artists every single one, sometimes it can be good to be reminded of it. And that's exactly why I would like to encourage you who have nominated someone else to tell this one. And for those of you who have nominated yourself to read the letter again and remember what an incredible strength and power lies within each of you. Thank you for the gift that is your words. They live in my heart forever ". / Rasmus
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