Retopia and Reading

10502125_739094622819879_3485620107090801256_nWelcome to the Opening of Kultivators un-plugged camp Retopia, and the presentation and reading of the author and midwife Ruth Ehrhardt, South Africa, from her book The little green statue.
Introduction by Joanna Sandell, Botkyrka konsthall.
Soup by Leila Perikala.
16.00-20.00, with possibility to stay around the fire throughout the evening…







Retopia is a structure for socializing, exchange, cooking and accommodation for 2-6 guest workers, designed and built on site in Dyestad during the spring and early summer of 2014, by students of Öland Folk High School with the support of Kultivator. By reusing materials and focusing on recycling solutions for energy, waste and water, the site has been designed to burden the environment as little as possible, and serve as a meeting place and focal point in the village. A Guest workers will here be someone who both perform practical work and share cultural expressions with the local community, through a jointly designed and built venue. Same starting point for exchanges are taken in international collaborations that Kultivator and Botkyrka Konsthall has started up in South Africa and Tanzania.

The Little Green Statue tells the story of three generations of Ehrenreich women and spans from 1930 racially segregated rural South Africa to the finishing schools of 1960s Switzerland to present day modern and post Apartheid South Africa.

Maria Burger (later Gigi Ehrenreich) is a barefoot Cape Coloured girl growing up in a missionary town in rural South Africa. At a very young age she is sent to live with her older cousin in Cape Town. As a teenager she meets, falls in love with and marries Kent Ehrenreich and they have three daughters. All is well until Kent finds a contact at Home Affairs and they decide to reclassify from Cape Coloured to White. This changes their lives immensely and they make the move from their Cape Coloured families and friends to a new life in a white neighbourhood. In order to survive this change they need to construct an entirely new family history and pretend they have recently emigrated from Europe. They are very successful at constructing this new reality and become succesful and millionaires.

Carol Ehrenreich is the second daughter of Kent and Maria (Gigi) and it is with much resentment that she goes along with the move from Cape Coloured to White classification at age eight. Angry at the loss of her Cape Coloured family and this new way of life, she is sent off to finishing school in Switzerland at age 18. She spends 20 years in Switzerland and has two daughters there. In her late 30s she moves back to South Africa, in the hope of recapturing her lost roots. Having met and fallen in love with the bushman who had appeared to her once in a vision, they purchase a farm together with the dream of emancipating the Cape Coloured people of South Africa. Carol is unprepared for the alcoholism, physical abuse and violence that meets her plans. Things begin to crumble.The author, Ruth Ehrhardt, was born in Switzerland but has been living in South Africa since she was eight years old.

A midwife and lecturer by trade, Ruth has been working on and off on The Little Green Statue since 2004. She has been visiting family members and collecting stories from her grandmother, mother, aunties, sisters, friends and other family members and hangers on. The book is a weaving together of these stories, a tapestry of old and new, from rural South African mythology to the harsh realties and violence that accompanies South African life.

Ruth is also the published author of Droeland, written for a collection of South African birth stories called Just Keep Breathing published by Jacana. Ruth has also self published a booklet called The Basic Needs of a Woman in Labour, an e-book on the role of hormones in childbirth and the environmental factors that effect these hormones. She is also currently working on a book on how to support sexually abused women during pregnancy and childbirth.

Leila Perikala is an Iranian artist, educated in India and since 12 years living in Kalmar, Sweden. She will support the event with a warming vegan soup!

With support of Kulturrådet