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(Wo)man of Quality

5 cloaks, leather, wood, digital print on cloth, cloth, embroidery DVD

2007

It is about the human desire to stand out, to be different or to be better than others. ‘(Wo)man of quality' is a comment on the existence of social classes in the (colonial) past up till now. Societies are divided into those who serve and those being served. I came across an image of a ‘woman of quality' from Nagasaki . This Japanese high-society lady had her head covered in public by a veil, but this veil is rather unusual; it is shaped like an umbrella, carried on a stick by a servant who walks behind her. Inspired by this image I created five coverings to be carried specifically by someone else other than the user. I have chosen five materials that express different notions of authority, power and strength.

1. Physical strength
Digital print on canvas. These are scanned images of packages of herbal medicines that increase male potency.
2. Religious or spiritual strength White praying cloth (a Mukana - Moslem praying cloth for women) and a Song-song (umbrella for spiritual use in Java and Bali original from Hinduism).
3. Ideological strength Flags which carry an ideology, visualized in symbols
4. Sacral and feudal strength Leather ear accessories in the form wings (part of traditional Javanese dance costumes and worn by the Sultan of Yogyakarta).
5. Military strength Military uniforms and badges depicting military ranks