Sunday, 29 January 2023

Textile Details

'Welches Kind Lass Ich Zurück / Which Child do I leave behind?', by Heidi Drahota. (Photo: Heidi Drahota)
'Welches Kind Lass Ich Zurück / Which Child do I leave behind?', by Heidi Drahota. (Photo: Heidi Drahota)


Title of Textile:Welches Kind lass ich zurück? / Which Child do I leave behind?
Maker: Heidi Drahota
Country of Origin: Germany
Year Produced: 2015
Size (cm): 53cm (w) x 63cm (l)
Materials: Different organza and cottons, gauze, natural dyed and broken teabags, polyester yarn
Type of Textile: Wall hanging

As textile artist Heidi Drahota skimmed the “Nürnberger Nachrichten / Nuremberg News” newspaper over Sunday morning breakfast at her home in Nuremberg in 2011, the headline “Which of the Children Shall Survive?” claimed her attention. Reading on, she absorbed the stark choices facing parents in the East African famine region, fleeing conflict, famine and drought, on their long trek to the refugee camp in Dadaab, eastern Kenya, home to approximately 219,000 refugees, the majority of whom are Somalians. UNHCR Kenya (2020)

When Wardo Mohammud Yusuf’s four year old son collapsed just before they reached the Kenyan border she eventually left him behind to die, in order to at least save her daughter, a decision that continues to haunt her.

When Faduma Sakow Abdullah’s two eldest children collapsed, she had to save the little remaining water for her three younger children, leaving the two eldest to their fate under a tree.

Faqid Nur Eimi’s three year old son died from dehydration on the long journey. Too weak to dig a grave she put a few dry branches around his body and then resumed her journey “I only thought of how I could possibly save my other children“, she says.

The stark news story which, for Heidi, epitomises “the endless suffering that wars, terror, and hunger inflict on individuals and entire peoples…” impelled her to create this piece.

Creating such a piece “is a slow process of development …which is necessary for textile work” comments Heidi. “I feel the needle stitches, the pain of the story I am telling, …the individual decisions, how do I express this situation, with which material in which technique, needs and gets my special attention.” For her this creates “a very intense relationship with the story and these people, which I do not know at all.”

As the shadowy figures in her piece trudge forward on their arduous journey from Somalia, - a country where 5.9 million - almost half of the population are dependent on humanitarian assistance and where one child in seven dies before the age of five – Heidi “confront[s] the viewer with these cruel truths.. Innocent children have to leave their lives in a terrible way” European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Fact sheet (2021)

Owner: Heidi Drahota collection
Location: Heidi Drahota, Germany
Original / Replica: Original
Photographer: Heidi Drahota

Textile exhibited at: War-Torn Children, 1/03/2017 - 15/04/2017
War-Torn Children, 8/02/2018 - 24/03/2018
War-Torn Children, 5/09/2018 - 29/11/2018
Suitcases: Telling Textile Travels /Maletas: Contando Viajes Textiles, 1/10/2021 - 7/11/2021

Textile Detail Image(s)