Anna Portisch conducts research in the Altai region of Mongolia, looking at Kazakh women and the embroidered textiles and felt carpets they make for the home. During her fieldwork, she lived with a family in a small village and learned how to make these textiles.
“The first image (a relief print) is a double portrait of our neighbour Setsia and her daughter Duska. Their portraits are framed by a swirling ‘ram’s horn’ pattern, a pattern often used in Kazakh textiles. People in this area highly value family photos and with this print I wanted to combine a portrait with the patterns from the textiles, which Setsia was teaching her daughter to make.
The three smaller prints are etchings. One is of a mud brick winter house. The second is of the stove corner in my family’s winter house. Here we used dried dung in summer and coal in winter to cook and make tea. The stove was the only source of heat in the two-bedroom house. The third etching is of the winter slaughter, which usually takes place in November when it is cold enough (around minus 20 degrees C) to keep the meat frozen in an outside store house, but the animals still retain some fat. The year I lived with the family, a dozen animals were slaughtered over two days. This meat will sustain the family throughout the winter until spring. This print shows two women washing intestines, running hot water through them over a bowl.”