Letters has been an effective way to shorten the distance between people. During the moment of writing and reading, recipient and sender, displaced in time and spaces are together in a window of mutual care.
This project fictionally creates a conversation through letters between Sylvia Pankhurst and Tatiana Letier Pinto.
The letters presented as written by Sylvia Pankhurst on this project are a collage of extracts of letters that she has written on her activism against Italian occupation of Ethiopia from 1936, founded in her archives.
Press 'play', below, to see the letter and hover over the text to see more.
Tatiana Letier Pinto besides an architect and researcher, she is the artist author of this project: Letters against fascism.
Reflecting on the responsibility of the architects that worked for Mussolini while building the Fascist Italy she invokes the question what is her role as an architect to resist Fascism nowadays.
Sylvia Pankhurst as a woman, not directly involved in the conflict but who understood that the cause of social justice is the cause of us all has become a role model for Tatiana.
The exchange of letter with Sylvia Pankhurst approximate the two artist in time and space to support each other, share experiences and encouragements.
Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960), a British artist trained at Manchester School of Artand later at the Royal College of Art, South Kensington.
Much more than an artist her biography is extensive from a prominent campaigner of the Suffragette movement (together with her mother Emmeline Pankhurst and her sisters Christabel and Adela) plus anti-fascist and human rights activist, especially for the Ethiopian cause during the Abyssinia War.
For 20 years (1936-1956), Sylvia Pankhurst self-published the newspaper ‘News Times and Ethiopia News’ in which she exposed to the world the atrocities of theItalian invasion of Ethiopia. She has sent letters accompanied with the newspaper to politicians and influential people across the world to ask for support for the cause and stop the fascist invasion. After the liberation of AddisAbaba (1941) she continued fighting for justice and betterment of Ethiopian people lives. On 1956 she moved to Addis Ababa and lived there till the end of her life in 1960.
Dear Mrs Pinto,
I was sorry not to see you again before you left England. I am enclosing here with a copy of “New Times and Ethiopia News” just to give you the latest information.The newspaper was brought out in an hour of crisis. In tendering the tragic collection of record we would urge readers first to pause and consider what their feelings would have been if this wickedness had been perpetrated in their own land, and they and their dear one shad been victims.
Don’t think I am some one extraordinary, I am just a humble and unofficial person with only one title: I have been fighting for justice all my life. I don’t have counsels for your fight, for our fight against those poisonous snakes, which warmed in the bosom of the democratic states. I would wound them to death. We can’t paralyse ourselves on the face of fascism. I am doing something, not only on behalf of Abyssinia but fundamentally on behalf of us all.
I do not know whether it is now possible to save “civilization” from the supreme disaster, which our dictators and “statesmen” are apparently, bent upon heading it for – but the only thing to do is to try. If only the people could be saved from their nationalistic leaders, how easy the rest would be.
I desire to express a profound gratitude to have
your support and build this alliance in those most needed moments. As regards letters and your fear of them going astray, I suggest getting the most interesting parts typed.
Please don’t bow over difficulties. I assure you, with a deep sense of responsibility that we will continue to struggle, with all possible energy, for the annulment of the fascist victories. The situation is exceedingly difficult, but I have faith that the clouds must break. From me will never issue any suggestion of compromise, any mention of hauling down the flag. It is a thing I have never done in my life to any movement.
I do hope for your energetic support.