On March 8th, International Women's Day, Agata Oleksiak, known in the artistic world as Olek, held a happening in New Delhi aiming to draw attention to the violence that affects Indian women.
The event was participated - apart from the artist - by women who had been victims of violence. A group of people (any person willing to take part was welcome to join in) knitting in silence in a public place is paradoxically a strong intervention in everyday life. Such action is both discreet and meaningful: by exposing to the public the activities traditionally reserved to the private sphere, it compels the observers to get involved. In order to understand the meaning of these actions, viewers have to start asking questions, thus opening themselves to the artist's message.
The performance was not be Olek's first project in India. In 2015, she was invited to take part in the St+art Delhi festival. Working together with residents of the Sarai Kale Khan women's night shelter in New Delhi, she covered the building of the shelter with colored yarn, transforming it into an object of art. "The Power of Silence" was in a way a continuation of the project carried out in 2015.
Olek – Agata Oleksiak – was born in 1978 in Silesia. In 2000, she received a BA in Cultural Studies from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland and relocated to New York City, where she is currently based. Olek's work has been exhibited in galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide and featured in numerous publications such as TIME Magazine, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine and Newsweek. Olek is the recipient of the Ruth Mellon Award for sculpture in 2004, In Situ Artaq award (France) in 2011, and a grant in 2011 from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) for performance in public space. Olek’s residencies have included Sculpture Space in 2005, Instituto Sacatar (Brazil) in 2009 and AAI-LES in 2010. In 2008, Olek was the winner of the Apex Art competition. In 2010, the artist was commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum of Art for a one-day interactive performance installation. In 2012, Olek was part of the 40 Under 40: Craft Futures exhibition at the Smithsonian, for which her entire crocheted studio apartment was exhibited.