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Rob Perrée: Artists on gender-based violence

Artists on gender-based violence

In the Name of Honour: Artists speak out on gender-based violence in new exhibition

Daisy Wyatt
Thursday, 19 September 2013

Mona Hatoum
High profile artists from around the world including Tracey Emin, Chris Ofili and Paula Rego have donated artworks to an exhibition in aid of raising money for victims of domestic abuse.
The exhibition, titled In the Name of Honour, addresses gender issues including the representation of the female body, human trafficking and honour-based violence.

Click here or on ‘view gallery’ for more images from the exhibition

Works donated by artists such as Sarah Lucas and Gerald Laing also deal with the depiction of women in the media and the objectification of the female body.

The artworks will be auctioned in association with Christie’s to raise money for the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse, including honour-based violence.

Pakistani-born Faiza Butt is one artist exhibiting in aid of the cause. Her light installation depicts images of veiled women whose facial bruises transform into flowers.

Faiza_1×2mt_with_poem copy.jpgShe says: “My work supports the global feminist movement. I support liberation of women not just from the oppression of men, but from social expectation, pressures of image, discrimination and disparity in salary.”

She says her work is more of a “poetic” response to pain and suffering than a political statement about female oppression in Pakistan.

“It’s vital for me that my work is not abrasive or offensive to an ethnic group or culture, but pulls them in and makes them think about the human condition,” she says.

“The aim of my art isn’t to please or create comfort, but to positively provoke. As a feminist artist discussing gender, men are often alarmed by my work- which I quite enjoy.”

But the artists are also aware that taking part in an exhibition about gender-based violence could risk of alienating men.

Butt says she would like to see a more inclusive form of feminism.

“I strongly believe in a re-interpretation of feminism, not as a movement against men or cultural establishments, but about awareness through education,” she says.

Sarah Maple, whose strong feminist pieces include pictures of her with signs saying “the opposite of a feminist is an arsehole”, is also aware that men need to be brought into the debate.

“To me, feminism is all about equality. Some people try to exclude men from the conversation; I don’t think this will get us anywhere. I think men are just as important to feminism as women,” she says.

Antonia Packard, director of the Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation, hopes the exhibition will help raise awareness that violence against women is not just a gender-based issue.

“To date, domestic violence has been largely viewed as a private matter and a gender issue,” she says.

“We have to get to the place where society sees domestic violence as a violation of human rights over everything else.”

In the Name of Honour runs from 19-22 September at One Mayfair, 13A N Audley Street, London W1; admission free.