The strength and will of the young people who set out impress me.
Interview with Vera Sous
You meet with refugees at the museum every Friday. Can you tell us something about that?
We started the Ahoi2You project in 2015. We invited many of the refugees who had just arrived in Aachen to join us in building a ship during the summer vacations in a vacant store (Kunstwechsel, Wilhelmstr., directed by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Becker). Quickly we understood: We can communicate through artistic, handicraft and musical actions.
I started the Ahoi Group with my daughter Ana Sous. Mechthild and Martin Richter Hassel have supported us from the beginning, but also many musicians, artists, family and friends contribute to the success of the projects and the integration of our new friends. These new friendships enrich our lives, make us curious and challenge us.
In 2015, we realized the 14 Banners of Mercy for the Aachen Cathedral with unaccompanied refugees.In 2016, we ran a Kitchen of Cultures (Ahoi3) in the old carpentry in the Ludwig Forum for International Art and catered for up to 100 guests a day. For this we received the integration award of the city of Aachen for art projects. In 2017, the musical theater piece: Sack und Pack was created during the project Ahoi4You. We were able to perform three times in front of a full house. In 2019, the Ahoi Group exhibited at the Forum for Art and Culture, Herzogenrath. In 2020, a beetle was created for the Day of the Monument: Drachenzähne in Farbe, a project of the Rheinischer Verein.
Since 2019, we have been dealing with the topic of travel and have developed the concept of the travel agency together in our group. In cooperation with the Academy of Craft Design, Gut Rosenberg travel routes were realized, ending in a camp, which was implemented by our Ahoi team.
What does travel mean for a person who had to leave his home country for life-threatening reasons? What does travel mean for us Europeans? Since 2015, the Ahoi group has been meeting every Friday. Fortunately, we have found a place to stay in the Ludwig Forum since 2016/17.
There we can discuss ideas, paint together, do handicrafts with the little ones and drink tea together. Corona has limited these meetings, but we are optimistic about the future.
To what extent do we see the influence of those meetings in your own artistic work? What touches you?
The encounters with people from all over the world and their stories also influence my own artistic work. For example, flight has become one of my themes and is reflected in my exhibits for the exhibition Bon Voyage!.
In 2015, I exchanged denim pants worn on the escape for new ones. I use the threads to embroider pictorial motifs that reflect current world events – an embroidered commentary. A barbed wire, which springs from a jeans pocket fragment, is created in lengthy braiding work. Threads of different denim pants, worn between Tehran and Aachen, Damascus and Aachen or Asmara and Aachen carry the pain, suffering, effort and homesickness that moves and touches me. The strength and will of the young people who set out impress me.
- * 1963 in Stolberg
- 1983–1988 studied object design at Aachen University of Applied Sciences
- since 1990 art courses and school projects for adults, young people and children in the Bleiberger Fabrik, Aachen