On a windy Sunday in November I welcomed four Kirgiz women. They are artists in felt, coming from Kyrgyzstan. Travelling through Europe, they try to interest people for their beautiful crafts. In the Kirgiz way they had asked me to organize an exhibition for their handicrafts. In this case, “Kirgiz way” means asking for an exhibition, four days before their arrival. In the “Dutch way” we get slightly panicked, receiving these kind of short term questions. We believe nothing is possible to organize in four days. After my first shock, I decided to make some space in my gallery in Amsterdam. We have an authentic yurt in the basement and lots of kirgiz carpets and rugs,. The perfect environment for a cosy meeting with the artisans.
At noon they came in with huge bags and trunks. I immediately realized that the space, I had given them was not enough. But I also had decided to give this day to the ladies. They were allowed to use my shop in the “Kirgiz way.
If you are not Kirgiz and not Dutch, I will explain. The Kirgiz believe in the natural flow of life. It will take and give in a sort of balans. The Dutch believe if you are not in control of the situation it will become a complete disaster.
The four Kirgiz artisans unpacked their stuff, beautiful scarves, nice carpets, lots of hats, and souvenirs. In a couple of minutes my gallery looked like a bazaar. But at the same time, unpacking the felt, an energy of happiness filled my shop, and I realized that I had missed this good atmosphere since summer, when I spend one month in Kirgizstan.
Maybe it was not as perfect as I had in mind, but we had a great time, everybody was chatting, clients came in, we drank lots of tea and coffee and made plans for the future.