“A black-colored figure. We on the eve of negating the body. Black, unfortunate black of western culture, red and black: a flag of Nazi death and destruction. Black is for Kandinsky’s passive resistance, insufficient. Black means to retreat, to give in, to dig out, an unending abyss, complete impossibility, the deepest darkness, without a ray of light, the deepest inaudible sound, death, silence. White on black, black on white, resonant silence. Black in a synonym for death, destruction, petrifaction, exposition, crumbling, ruination, decay. Decay is associated with the idea of death or bleakness like on a skeleton, the corpse, the raven. Black has various shades, black absorbs the entire radiation of light—black in fact is not a color. The value of black is coldness. Black is cold….
I ask myself what kind of color is completely blind. Does it live in a different darkness? One of us said: It’s not strange that we are dressed in black. Women dress in black when something isn’t going right, and the lack of security is proved by their sacrifice. They resort to imaginary archetypes, the antithesis of male and female, the dualism of day and night, the law of the hero who governs by thought, with nature and ideology. Opposite the hero is the form of sacrifice, darkness, castration like for animals. Black and deep water….
They made make leases with the color black: a black background with the crescent moon, earth that trembles, a sign of derangement, the earth caving in, bitterness and acerbity of a time without love. Like Picasso’s Guernica without colors, we are black, grey, white, testimony of the time of death.” (Alberta Marin, Women in Black Verona)
“Black is a symbol of Israel’s tragedy and the Palestinian nation. The black color for Women in Black, Israel has a two-fold meaning: solidarity with the Palestinian nation because of the repression which it suffers, and the relationship with one’s own nation: an act of rejecting the culture of death which characterizes collective identity and constantly recalls the mass suffering of the Holocaust.” (Women in Black, Israel)
“For women in the South, black is a really important color. It is the color of pain, weeping, and also it is their traditional duty to wear black clothes. For Italian Women in Black, black clothing is not individual or private, but collective and public. It is an expression of bitterness and a rejection of every form of war. In the international women’s movement, black is today recognized as the most powerful means of rejection of every form of violence.” (Women in Black, Turin)
”We dress in black to protest the politics and practice of all armies whose arguments are force and violence.” (Women in Black, Columbia)
“Women wear black for the deaths of those close to them. We wear black for the known and unknown victims of war. We wear black as a sign of protest against irresponsible nationalist leaders who think the sacrifices of the war responsible, because for them the only arguments are brutal military force and violence.” (Women in Black, Belgrade, October 9, 1991.)
“Women in my area generally wear black and sometimes dark colors. Black like the impossibility of alternatives, a paradigm of life without color and nuance…While we stand in black and silence every Wednesday, reminding me of pictures of women from childhood. In contrast to them, my black isn’t only mourning close people, but all victims of this and all wars. This isn’t surrendering to mourning and grief as a constituent part of a woman’s role, this is resistance to the destruction of towns and people, to violence in everyday life, a rebellion against militaristic regimes that produce death, unhappiness, and devastation.” (Stasa Zajovic)
“Although it is not easy to find new ways and codes to express women’s resistance to war, we retained the ritual of black and silence. However, the traditional symbols of black and silence are completely turned upside-down. Black clothes are absolutely a part of the traditional women’s role; it is a historic domestic duty that women, if they were to express pain, practice only in the invisible, domestic sphere. We took black out to the square as a visible, political color.” (Women in Black, Belgrade)
“For four years we reminded people by the black in which we dressed our bodies that war set out from our city.” (Jadranka Milicevic)
“On Wednesday morning we would think how to dress in black. Already, rebelling with black was our personal and public fact—we do not agree with nationalism, we do not agree with killing. The morning search for a black blouse to wear on Wednesday lessened the frustration and the feelings of guilt. We exchanged black clothing between ourselves. Black meant that we did not agree with everything the Serbian regime was doing.” (Lepa Mladenovic)
“Black, the color of sorrow and loss, imposed on women by the patriarchal tradition. Women in Black serves as a means to reveal the dominant culture of death, a deep and antagonistic dive into pain that at the same time affirms the principle of life.” (Women in Black, Udine)
“Women in Black are like New York, the fashion capital of the world and at the same time also one of the most primitive parts of the world, like how in ancient times when it was the women’s duty to wear black as a sign of grief: contradictory representative elements. I continue: standing, peaceful standing, in silence with signs, as a specific view of body art which together with out political message recalls the conceptual genius of Mariana Abramovic: the fact that the woman’s body is offered as an object of art and the same time also a tool for understanding what art really is: an open application and message of the feminine principle.” (Jasmina Tesanovic)
“Our black clothes mean the invocation of unhappiness.” (Senka Knezevic)
“Black is a symbol of all that we live though.” (Rada Zarkovic)
“Black is a reflection of my inner sickness.” (Svetlana, Belgrade)
“Black is for me a break in the ritual pain, ritually black.” (Ljilja, Sarajevo)
“Our black clothing is as if to say: all women will be in black if you continue to make wars; you will have to confront that image—not so much the image of women in black, as the image of yourself.” (Stasa Zajovic)
“Above all I wear black because of the destruction of multicultural life in this area.” (Neda Bozinovic)
Always disobedient, and still in the streets...
Women in black - 30 years of resistance
9th october 1991 we took to the streets of Belgrade for the first time - that is when we began non- violent resistance to the war and the policies of the Serbian regime. So far, we have organized about 2,500 street actions. We are still in the streets ...
Women in Black / WiB is an activist group and network of feminist-anti-militarist orientation, consisting of women, but also men of different generational and ethnic backgrounds, educational levels, social status, lifestyles and sexual choices.