Help u zelven / Help thyself

‘Help u zelven’ (Help thyself)
Artist’s book and 5 cards
Balta 2005


Language houses the past. The history of a country or region is traceable in expressions and proverbs. For instance, the expression ‘help thyself’ refers to the co-operation society for spinners and weavers in the town of Winterswijk.

In 2005, ‘Help thyself’ sounds outdated, but it used to stand for mutual solidarity within the co-operation. Today, it evokes a sense of  mercifulness, especially in combination with the proverb ‘heaven helps those who help themselves’. In the book, ‘help thyself’ is used as a spell in the search for comfort and beauty in a world of ‘every man for himself’ – and God for us all.

‘Help thyself’ has not vanished from Winterswijk forever. In May 2000 a gallery for contemporary art and design opened its doors in Wilhalminastraat, at the same address where the first ‘help thyself’ shop for members was opened on the 1st of May 1900. By choosing this name, ‘Help thyself’ Gallery helps keeping the memory of regional history alive.

Book: Edition of 200, 48 pages
14,5 x 21 cm