Sewing Complicity

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by Muna Mussie

in collaboration with Scuola delle Donne| Pilastro (CESD), Biblioteca Italiana delle Donne with the support of the social cooperatives Camelot and Mondo Donna, Cantieri Meticci, Ars Aemilia, Ass. Santarcangelo dei Teatri Production | Città di Ebla

Language, as a political and emotional space and as an aesthetic tool, is at the core of Muna Mussie’s project. Born in Eritrea and resident in Bologna, Muna Mussie has sewed a book as a form of collective creation, as a place and social fabric made of the dialogue between women from different backgrounds and currently living in Bologna. Punctuation (‘Punteggiatura’), is the imaginative space that, through language and gesture, gives birth to the common good. It is a discourse put into practice, translated into embroidery, in relationship with dexterity and manual skills, which performs and handles thoughts, tracing and sewing its own coordinates. The sewed book was presented to the public at MAMbo – Bologna Modern Art Museum on the 15th June 2018 through a guided-tour by Abraham Tesfai’s and Kimia Ghorbani’s voice, and was displayed in the garage space of Arena del Sole Theatre until 24th June 2018. 

photo by Alice Murtas


Punctuation develops a “singular” discussion.

The encounters with various women took place individually. It became a conversation in progress. Each of them was free to answer to my questions or to talk about their own issues.   I started the dialogues by placing the book at the center. Asking the question “what is a book?” was already a start to the writing process. Asking what they would like to write for those who will read it lit in them a sense of responsibility towards the other, that touched me. We met behind closed doors. Those meetings were like being in the anteroom. Time outside of time, a secret passage, special paths that amplified the capacity of dialogue; simultaneously inside and outside of the self, the awareness of being close one another, close to being sewed together, with other names. It is scary and emanates at the same time.

Punctuation has been an imaginary and practical gestation, traversed by language, by a sympathetic and gestural train of thought, to create a commonplace.  
It is a simple but dense conversation.
It says a lot about dragging the past with one self, the present, the future.
It is a frank whole that doesn’t leave out its body.
It says a lot about “incorporation”.
It says a lot about creating points of agreement to stop on, and closing points from which we can start over, where respect is the unique possibility of existence. 

It is a conversation that puts into practice and is self translated into embroidery.
It is a dialogue with dexterity and workforce, which acts and handles thoughts by tracing coordinates and sewing them. Punctuation does not seek a feminist counter-attack, and even less absorbs reality of facts, but practices a sentimental revenge, that starts from the simple formula of “if you listen to me, I listen to myself – if I listen to myself, I listen to you”.

The sole fact of responding to their own questions allowed them to shed light on the other person, to ask questions, to explain, to paraphrase, to argue, to call, to accompany and to read inside her. 

The final rendition of this collective book coincides with its public presentation. An additional gesture of spread complicity, as a gift these women gave to their own city.

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Punctuation - Opening Night