Les Nyakes was the name of a group of young women from Tarragona, in southern Catalonia, who performed street theatre. Unfortunately, very little is known about them. The activist, poet and artist Mari Chordà (*1942) painted abstract depictions of vaginas (Vaginal 1, 1966) in the 1960s as well as a series of self-portraits during her pregnancy (Autoretrat embarassada [Pregnant Self, 1966]). She later predominately published poetry. After the first women’s conference in Barcelona, she founded the café/bar laSal, which served as the headquarters of the women’s publishing house laSal: Edicions de les dones (1978–1990), which she managed together with María José Quevedo, Sat Sabater, Montes Solá and Carmen Cases. The Centre de Cultura de Dones Francesca Bonnemaison in Barcelona showed the comprehensive retrospective “Vinc d’una Zona Humida” in 2006-07, and Mari Chordà was also represented in the exhibition “Genealogías feministas en el arte español: 1960-2010” in the MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León in 2012-13. Pilar Aymerich also became a well-known photographer of the transition after Franco’s death. JE
This photograph taken by the Catalan photographer Pilar Aymerich (*1943) shows
an unannounced action by Les Nyakes during the Primeres Jornades Catalanes de
la Dona, the first Catalan women’s conference in Barcelona after the death of the Spanish dictator Franco in 1975. The group wanted to use the intervention to draw attention to the importance of housework as unpaid work. The women performed different chores of domestic cleaning and read poems by Mari Chordà from her collection ... I moltes altres coses (... and many other things, 1976), an illustrated version of which was sold at the conference. The group saw this first women’s conference as the perfect opportunity to highlight the slogan “the private is political”, which was popular in the women’s movement in the 1970s, in a performative act.
Courtesy Pilar Aymerich