Artists Katarzyna Malejka
Genre Sound   Installation
Edition Survival 20
  • 2022

Under her grandmother’s supervision, the artist is preparing a cocoa butter suppository. Being a retired pharmacist, Grandma knows how to make rectal medicine in her kitchen using the simplest methods. While sharing this knowledge with her granddaughter, she also recalls an episode from her days as a student. In the 1960s, military training was obligatory for women studying at medical schools. It lasted two years and included theoretical classes, exercises at the training ground, learning how to use a weapon and shoot. The artist’s grandmother was one of the laureates in a national competition for students of medical academies. She was awarded the “sharpshooter” distinction, which does not make her proud, though. Her memories from that time revolve around the feeling of cold and shame when she and her friends had to go through the city to the training ground wearing men’s fatigues. She remembers her friends’ protest against the military regime, which consisted in refusing to take their colourful headscarves off. Like many of her peers, the woman is strongly attached to a clearly defined set of features considered feminine. In this context, however, her repression of an element of her education becomes a gesture of opposition against forceful inclusion in the world of heroic masculinity. In this story of women’s post-war education and preparation for their future professional life, two worlds collide – the military and the medical one. The former tries to gain control by posing a threat to health and life, while the latter is supposed to protect them.

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