For all those women out there with DIY aspirations, the third edition of feministival, a non-profit DIY feminist festival which kicked off on Thursday in Istanbul, looks set to provide an introduction to an unusual range of skill sets, ranging from bike repair and experimental movie editing to workshops on modifying old clothing and the unlikely art of knitting from plastic bags.
Activism with a difference, feministival is not affiliated with any particular association or group but is organized annually with a view to rallying feminist solidarity against hierarchy, discrimination and oppressive mechanisms of authority.
Thursday saw the annual celebration get under way with sessions on the little-known art of plastic bag knitting -- providing a creative and environmentally friendly way to get rid of surplus plastic bags -- and the history of the tattoo, including a trip back in time to the journey of the first female practitioners of the art and a guide on the application of the temporary henna tattoo. This is followed by workshops on self-portrait photography and the powerful poetic form of spoken word.
What may seem to an outsider to be a run-of-the-mill arts and crafts get-together is underpinned by strong activist aspirations; a workshop on dream matrixes is geared towards creating an alternative to a profit-orientated system and attempting to observe connections between individual experiences, whilst sessions on spoken word are focused on the nurturing of strong skills of social empowerment in both the public and private realms. Other events set to take place over the four-day festival period include film screenings and sessions on expressive dance, life-drawing, photo novels and the modification of old clothing items -- providing a welcome opportunity to revitalize and reuse discarded garments.
Sunday will see the colorful event draw to a close with a workshop on bicycle repair -- who said bikes were boys’ toys? -- and a coastal picnic in Kadıköy’s picturesque Moda neighborhood. Events will take place across a range of Beyoğlu venues, including the Kumbara Sanat culture center, Rumeli Han, Hush Restaurant and Lambda İstanbul. For more information on a weekend of creative feminist fun, see http://bagyanfest-en.blogspot.com/.