A long thread that links us

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Antonella Prota Giurleo has been working for a long time to express, through visual arts, that female political thought which, more than anything else, helped her to free herself.

She sometimes creates situations where become visible the importance of relationships, the peculiarity, the departure from the inner self, the link with the mother and the genealogy, the disparity; words that the practice and the idea of the differences have dug out as elements of the symbolic world which conducts the behaviour of many women.

From this was born the idea of the performance Fili di donne Ė Fili di vita (Threads of women Ė Threads of life) at the Quinto Cortile (Fifth courtyard) gallery in Milan.

First of all, the relashionship with Mavi Ferrando, the gallery director.

And then, the relationship with the women invited, each of them different, not a group, but many unique links with the artist: because they know her, they arrive at the meeting with different expectations of what is going to happen.

The gallery is in an old building that you can reach walking through different courtyards, one after the other, a part of an almost unknown Milan of the nineteenth century with its characteristic working-class houses: narrow cobbled streets, side detours, an art school, boys and girls unable to give you directions. The sensation of not being in time is overcome as we trust who invited us.

In the wooden floored room with windows on only one side overlooking a winter garden, some women in a circle are listening to Antonella.

"As long as we canít get a strong uninterrupted thread of love, approval and example from mother to daughter, from woman to woman, generation after generation, women will go on wandering in a hostile land."

What Adrienne Rich had written in Born of a woman had moved, years before, her desire to use balls of coloured threads as stimulus to actions which involved women who were already on her same research pathway.

"But now women arenít wandering any longer and the land seems not so hostile, because itís marked by other womensí paths", adds Antonella and she suggests taking out a ball of thread from a bag, tying one end somewhere and then unwinding it; she will take pictures while moving around..

And so, letís unwind our lives, letís unravel our threads, letís interlace.

From a canvas bag, a coloured womb that crossed the ocean; I grab the ball: my birth was given, freedom is accepting my womanhood and filling it with desires and meaning, here and now.

With the blue-grey thread in my hand I cling to a small chain hanged from a window: Iím born, Iím coming to light, like me others love it and lots of threads unravel near mine.

But Iím searching for crossings: Iím binding streamers, Iím creating ties.

I move around the room: I want to explore it all.

The thread of the unforgivable little green girl crosses mine: Iím meeting her again as in our friendship.

Some women are unknown to me, of others I know some things. I watch their movements, their colours: pink, purple, white, Nadiaís blue, a big moss necklace and a beret, many scarves round necks.

Antonella has called us, she has put us together and now sheís moving around collecting images.

I move my threads to create palaces and passages. We are walking in a multicoloured thin elasticity.

Then we start winding up our threads again: the need of memories. The paths of our returning are not the same any more: new meeting experiences in the time that moves forward.

Letís unite our balls of threads: frenzy of efficiency or softness of diverging solutions?

Letís make two balls, we can play. We donít want to unite them: we want to live the differences. Many hands come together.

With a piece of thread, two of us go back to the childhood game of intertwining threads on our fingers. I become a girl again and, just as then, unable to shift the interlacement from my fingers to hers. Another girl joins in: I watch happily the fingers dancing and the threads shifting .

Luciana Tavernini, traduction by Maria Rolla and MosŤ Franco