If you consider yourself a feminist (or have feminist leanings), are passing by Paris, and keen for a non-postcardesque experience of the capital, take the Métro up North to the outskirts of Clichy. From Saturday onwards, riotous activist group FEMEN (identifiable by their bare slogan-bearing chests and floral head pieces) are opening their headquarters.
The space, a large factory formerly used as film production company, will become a permanent home to eight members and welcome women worldwide. We want this to be a womens house, open to anyone interested. Our action takes place on the street, but today it is vital to give it a roof for it to grow as an international movement, said now-renowned founding member, Ukrainian-born Inna Shevchenko.
Shevchenko found herself forced to leave Ukraine after chainsawing a large crucifix in Kyiv, topless, as the president passed an official demand for her arrest. After a skip and hop to Poland, she found herself in Paris, in August 2012. The city was safe, with a big FEMEN following and a very central, strategic location in Europe for headquarters, she said adding that the city is both beautiful and full of urgent battles that need to be fought.
After months of revamping architecture, installing water, and doing DIY electrical jobs, the group will begin by holding a week long Spring Training Camp for 40-odd women from around the world next week. This will include self-defense workshops, how to deal with arrests, and non-violent strategies of all sorts.
But thats not all: True to their outrageous selves, the space will be baptized by holding a large event on Easter Sunday (much to the fury of local Catholic groups). Conferences, drinks, and an exclusive DJ performance by hip queer collective La Kidnapping are to be expected. We will bring together our friends and enemies, and hope to have everybody convinced by the end of the night, added Shevchenko with a smile.
Sunday, April 20th 2014
4, rue du port / Clichy la Garenne
7 to 2 PM
Metro : Mairie de Clichy
Photos: Valerie Baeriswyl (1); Betrand Noel (2); Jacob Khrist (3)