Place: Häxmyrtjärn, Häxmyran, Ovanåker, Sweden
8 women were convicted, executed and burned at the stake, sometime during the 1600’s. Sentenced not only to death but to exclusion from society, deprived of the blessing and denied a burial in consecrated ground. What was left after the fire did its thing was trampled into the bog and covered with stones so that they could not “walk again”.
8 urns of clay, burned in the same place as the women’s remains were burned to destruction. Clay that through fire becomes ceramics that can be preserved in the earth for thousands of years. The urns bear inscriptions that tell about the fate of the 8 women, about the fate of other women around the world, about our world, about our time.
In a circle, the 8 stand and bear witness to what has fallen into oblivion and what we do not want to see.
For each of the women an extra urn, an urn that takes place in society, which gives women a voice today. These 8 urns are each managed by a person who has participated in the work with the design and are present in 8 different places in the municipality, region and country.
The witch trials in Sweden are said to have been relatively limited compared to other countries in Europe. In total, about 400 people were executed and burned between 1492-1704. The witch trials were particularly intense during the years 1668-1676, the period that came to be known as “The Great Noise” when the witch hysteria spread like wildfire from Härjedalen and Dalarna, via Hälsingland and Gästrikland up to Ångermanland and then on to Västerbotten.
Witch trials are unfortunately not something that we have left behind in history. In several places around the world, women and children, accused of witchcraft, are still being convicted, executed and murdered. In Sweden, we no longer judge women for witchcraft. Or maybe we do it in other contexts? One can, for example, think about honor violence or how women are hung out on social media, often with extremely violent and grossly sexual undertones.