Last March, on International Women’s Day, Vabamu opened a new temporary exhibition titled “Escape the Kitchen!” 150 years of Estonian Women’s Movements”, curated by Piret Karro. As the name suggests, the exhibition focuses on the history of Estonian feminism from 19th century till today, while also looking at and reconsidering the role of many historical women who helped shape the Estonia we know today while even now remaining unfairly unknown to the Estonian public. In addition to objects, photographs and personal stories so often found in Vabamu exhibitions, “Escape the kitchen!” also brings in art as a method of storytelling and includes equestrian monuments made by artist Flo Kasearu to honor women such as writer, journalist and feminist Lilli Suburg or revolutionary and politician Alma Ostra-Oinas.
The popular exhibition has been accompanied by a diverse array of events right from the start – indeed the exhibition was opened with a concert of Estonia’s star blues group Kaisa Ling Thing. In the summer, a retrospective of the film director Leida Laius was held in collaboration with several art house cinemas in Tallinn and Tartu. On a more academic side, there have been lectures and discussions often widening the scope of the exhibition itself by looking at subjects such as the role of women in Estonian society in pre-Christian and early modern times or the presence of women in the business sphere. For younger audiences, there have been numerous discussion nights and an educational program that lets high school students try their manifesto writing skills.
There is of course much still to come as the exhibition is open until the 10th of March 2024.