WORKING CLASS HEROES

Kaunas Picture Gallery
Kaunas Picture Gallery

Freedom, power, money, human rights – these are the universal themes explored by the first Work Museum in Luxembourg (MUAR/ Musée vun der Aarbecht).

In a rather contemporary way, the exhibition “Working Class Heroes” presents three working class heroes Jean-Pierre Bausch (1891–1935), Léon Weirich (1878–1942) and Jean Schortgen (1880–1918). The interactive show reveals the daily life of the industrial southern region of Luxembourg – the work, the dreams and hopes, the intense struggle for workers' rights. Personal stories of the people who created Luxembourg, a small country in the middle of Europe, raise relevant questions anew: who created your country, who represents your rights today, how far have we progressed in the field of labour law?

The idea of giving sense to the mining and steel industry that flourished in the south of Luxembourg and the memory of its workers arose when the regional city Esch-sur-Alzette became the European Capital of Culture. In June 2022, the Museum of Work organized the exhibition "Working Class Heroes" at the former miners' foot-wear factory Schungfabrik in Tètange, which highlighted the topics relevant to the working class. Today, the exhibition and its ideas have reached Kaunas.

The abbreviation MUAR, which stands for Work Museum, means tomorrow. The ideas that emerge here are therefore not confined to the industrial past, but are firmly linked to the present and the future. MUAR invites you to a socio-political debate reminding us that labour rights and freedom nowadays are not a self-evident certainty and universal value.

Curator - Marie – Paule Jungblut;

Producer – Thomas Ebersbach;

Video production – Sascha Helsper

Poster design – Max Nilles;

Project manager – Marieke Jarvis.

Audiovisual performance “LABOUR / AARBECHT“

The script of the performance is the result of an interesting coincidence – the collaboration between the Labour Museum and Backup Stories began in 2020 in the former miners' foot-wear factory Schungfabrik when the team of “Backup Stories” was researching the rubber shoe factory “Inkaras” (Anchor). After walking a long way towards each other, the Kaunas trainers "inkariukai" and the miners' boots from the industrial southern region of Luxembourg finally meet in the performance.

The shoe metaphor not only helps to transcend the different socio-economic systems in which the Luxembourg and Lithuanian industries grew and collapsed. The shoes on the left and right feet invite us to step in search of a unified rhythm that helps us, with our feet firmly planted in the ground, to remain human in the face of dramatic economic and social changes. The show's actors – miniature flexible silicone figures – embody original characters such as Left and Right Miner's Boots, Batch of Faulty Inkaras Trainers, Lost Gloves, etc.

The Luxembourg composer, jazz musician and multi-instrumentalist Polis Belardi's in his live music performance incorporates industrial sounds from his new work “Symphony of the Thousand”.

Exhibition works: 28 10 2022 – 26 02 2023