Crossing the Lines project
A multimedia project on domestic workers and employers
Crossing the Lines will be exploring the relationship between employers and their employees in the Netherlands, Bangladesh and maybe more countries.
How it began
It all started with my grandmother Dientje Venema, who worked as a maid from her 12th to her 24th in Groningen. Then it turned out one of my good friends Arnob Chakrabarty had partly been raised by a maid. When he returned to Bangladesh in 2010, he had a driver and a part time maid. I decided I wanted to explore relationships between employers and employees, together with other (photo) journalists.
Photo, video and text, Crossing the lines is a multi media project on parallel lives in several countries. Domestic workers, maids, cleaners and au pairs and their employers will be portrayed in the house of the employer. Employee and her or his employer will be photographed and captions about their lives added. The texts will reveal some information about their lives, their personal history and their work. And how they see each other.
At work in the private sphere
Because the work is done in the private sphere the positions are not fixed. Both in the Netherlands and in Bangladesh employers and employees are of a different social class. But not always. Foreign students work as au pairs, cleaners become friends who visit birthday parties. Bangladeshi domestic workers can play a more powerful role in a household than a daughter in law, and more close to their ‘mistress’ than their husbands.
Exhibitions: in print and digital
In the Netherlands we organise one or more exhibitions in 2011, the first will be during an international conference j on undocumented migrant workers in www.wereldhuis.org June 24th 2011.
In 2012 we hope to organize exhibitions in Dhaka in DRIK Photo Agency www.drik.net and at Central Station Amsterdam.
With organizations of domestic workers in the Netherlands we plan to start a website and a Facebook page in two or more languages. The website will show photo’s, stories and (optional) short video clip showing the poetry of repetitive movements of household chores.