What makes woman with a ton sand, 100 square meters of violet drapery and many busy hands ….
…. a sandbag labyrinth!
When our woman group received the invitation to take part at the intercultural day 2008 (in Aguilar de Campoó – Palencia – Spain) we all were hooked immediately. Then the question: Does someone have an idea?
Now, as a born Cancer I am familiar with odd ways. As a woman I feel good in circle and spiral, can be fascinated for a long time by the cyclic change of exciting depths and tumbling high-altitude flights. When somewhere along the way I felt the need to look for a form of life symbol that was able to express my feelings and experiences on the winding way of life; the labyrinth found me.
Thus I proposed to build a labyrinth on that mentioned intercultural day, all together, amidst the place: a large accessible labyrinth. Everything else arose automatically: First readings on Wikipedia about the labyrinth as cross-culture life symbol, which has a long and versatile past. There we came to know that throughout North of Spain, from Galicia to the Basque Country, were found in stone cut labyrinths from the Bronce Ages. Surfing the waves of the Internet we encountered some websites and blogs engaged in labyrinths, as from Erwin, from which I had learned much and learn still …. and we experienced something about the “Frauen-Gedenklabyrinth” (women memorial labyrinth) and about the “Öffentliche Frauenplätze” (public women places) by what our performance got completely new contents for us.
Reaching this point only the the form was missing, in which we could express our idea under the slogan “the labyrinth, which connects us”. And there we had the happy idea of the sandbags. On the one hand, because they should stand for the sand, with which we intentionally want to throw a spanner in the mainstream society of our time; on the other hand, because they contain, following the Spanish idiom, the grains of sand, which everyone from us can contribute to a better understanding between the cultures under the mark of gender equality.
Two weeks before the building four sewing machines, as industrious bees, began to hum, we have sewn 750 pouches and printed the marvelous logo of Agnes Barmettler on them. We tried to arrange and summarize visibly the increasing flood of material about the labyrinth for the information stand. Finally the whole action should not become top-heavy, but keep their playful, pleasure-oriented character, although however try to get to the bottom of the things ….
Then it was the time. On June 27, 2008 the container with the ton of sand was available, and we started working early in the morning: The course of the lines, which should be laid out with the bags, was configured with chalk, : 151 m altogether, 131 m accessible way in seven circuits (thanks, Erwin, for the drawing of the Troy Town Dibjaers, which served us as template). About noon the place was enlivened, and the first spectators changed to workers, filled bags with sand and brought them to get stitched up, and begun to build the labyrinth following the chalk lines. The further it grew the larger the participation, more frequent all the questions about the sense of the labyrinth and of the sentences, which we had dispersed on the ground as food for thought translated in different languages.
After lunch time, holy in Spain, the labyrinth was finished. As always the children accepted more easily our proposal, but after a while also adults got involved to make their experience during the labyrinth walking.
In the evening, we made the unfortunately not very successful attempt to finish our action in an auction. The money gathered by the symbolic auction of the sandbags should support as symbolic solidarity dike a woman project in the Dominican Republic .
What remained? Now, the remaining sandbags lie finely stacked in the shelf and are waiting for the next employment …. And from our woman group a small core emerged, which would like to pass on the labyrinth idea and has the goal to build a permanent labyrinth. The feeling connects us to stand at the beginning of a long way and nobody knows what is waiting for us behind the next bend ….
Author of this post: Andrea Milde
all photos © Andrea Milde