Varenka Paschke

During the International Women’s Day on 8 March 2019, the work of the South African artist Varenka Paschke is in the spotlight. She exhibits with six striking sculpted porcelain women’s heads. The starting point for this series is the vulnerable position of women in South Africa. In South Africa, women are the backbone of society, but are generally in a marginal third-rate position. It creates a country without compassion. The figures regarding sexual and domestic violence have increased dramatically over the past twenty years. And the poorer the population, the more women suffer from it. The government is watching silently. Varenka Paschke is passionate about her country and population. The difficulties and the possibilities. She tries to give people a voice that is often not heard. In this case, the position of women is central. The six women heads also represent six cultural groups in her country that are connected by the African language they speak. That language itself is also under pressure, especially from the government. The South African poet and artist Breyten Breytenbach wrote the following about this: “Om ‘n taal dood te maak is om die vrou te vernietig. Dis nie omsons dat ons praat van ‘moedertaal’ en van ‘moedertong’ nie.”(Killing a language is destroying the woman. Then you can no longer speak of ‘mother tongue’ and ‘mother tongue’.) The African title of the exhibition is ‘Moerteiken’: the mother as a target.