I’ve been taking advantage of the current deep freeze in the Netherlands, to do some preemptive Spring cleaning. While I was going through some old boxes, I came across a bag of 20-30 T-shirts. They were made for Cordially Invited, an exhibition curated by Maria Hlavajova and Gerardo Mosquera, back in 2004. On the front, you see “Welcome to Europe.” On the back is the less congenial message “Now Go Home.”
Little did I realize how potent the message might be. When I ordered the t-shirts, the printer was reluctant to take on the job. He wanted to confirm that it was for an artist, and not for a hate group, otherwise he wouldn’t do it. When I gave the t-shirts out to friends, many were uncomfortable with the message. They were concerned that people would miss the irony in the message. Considering that this was in the Netherlands – an irony free zone – I could see their point. While friends in “Old Europe” politely accepted my t-shirts, with no intention of ever wearing them, friends in Lithuania, Romania, and Turkey wore theirs with a smile on their face, and a tongue in their cheek.
That was slightly over seven years ago.
Old news. Or maybe not?
Maybe, just maybe, I should send the extra shirts to the Hague?