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Around the World in 80 Washing Lines
2017 Touring Exhibition

Image: Menier Gallery, London. Courtesy of Creative Commercial Photography


Inspired by the book title ‘Around the World in 80 Days’ by Jules Verne, this project is an extension of the thought process behind the painting “Look! They Also Dry Their Clothes!” from my first art exhibition ‘Kathmandu Calling!’.
The painting is reminiscent of the prayer flags strung along the Himalayan Mountains in Nepal, where I spent three months travelling and volunteering. The prayer flags reminded me of washing lines and how this simple task of laundry connects and unites us, all around the globe - irrespective of the day-to-day judgements, structures and classifications by which societies are ruled, governed – and ultimately divided by.

"It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, who you are, or what you do – we all have laundry to do!"

The Story
The project grew organically, with original funding from Reading's Cultural & Educational Partnership for its ‘Year of Culture’ celebrations. Workshops with local cultural and community groups were held to inform the project, and these contributions then formed mini on-site exhibitions in launderettes around Reading. The BBC reported on this in the initial stages. 

It took well over a year to find these 80 participants from 80 countries, and I had rich conversations with people from all over the world and captured the personal stories behind each washing line. Each story was written up and accompanied with the laundry photo sent in that then formed the final exhibition.

Later, Arts Council England (ACE) funding was obtained, and a full-scale laundry art installation formed. This immersive exhibition was autism-friendly and multi-sensory, so visitors could see, touch and smell the exhibition items, as well as listen out for the sounds of laundry taking place. The National Autistic Society supported the exhibition as it toured Reading, Slough and London, with warm-up gigs at launderettes Dirty Laundry (Wandsworth, London) and Washbox (Reading). 

Laundry pegs

Mahlia Amatina talks to the BBC about... 
                                        'Around the World in 80 Washing Lines'

Launderette Report
BBC Exhibition Report
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