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Honor killing law under attack

KUWAIT: Article 153 of Kuwait’s Penal Law states that if someone finds his wife, daughter, mother or sister with a man in an adulterous relationship, and if he kills her or her partner right away, he will face no more than three years in jail and/or a fine of KD 225. Essentially a law that protects ‘honor killing’ of female kin, Article 153 has increasingly come under opposition from a broad network of activists, individuals and artists in Kuwait. In a recent exhibition, ‘Abolish Article 153’ held at the Contemporary Art Platform, a group of 17 prominent local and regional artists contributed work to raise awareness about this unfair law and bring a spotlight to the issue. Organizers for the Abolish Article 153 campaign hope to petition lawmakers to annul this law. Once abolished in Kuwait, they plan to establish coalitions across the GCC and Arab countries where similar laws exist and transform the local campaign into a regional one.

Political rights Abolish Article 153 also marks the 10 year anniversary since women were granted voting rights in Kuwait. Concerned primarily with the female form and the representation thereof, the exhibition brings under the umbrella of ‘form,’ a diverse set of practices by local and regional artists, reflecting not necessarily what it means to be a woman in the turbulent times of globalization, but how women see themselves and are seen by others in a context where there is a clear mismatch between the technological imaginary of modernity, with its foundational aspect of constitutional rights, and the historical imaginary of tradition, with its reverence for the past and concern with the permanence of institutions.

List of artists The exhibition includes works by Kuwaiti artists Alaa Al-Haddad, Amani Althuwaini, Amira Behbehani, Ibrahim Alatiya, Khadija Al- Bahaweed, Mohammed Ramadan, Majeda AlSabah, Mohammed Sarkouh, Shaimaa Ashkanani, Suhaila Al-Najdi and Thuraya Al- Baqsami. It will also feature photography by Maryam Mesri and Nasser Al-Ghanim. Iranian artists Salar Ahmadian and Behnaz Ghasemi have contributed to this exhibition, along with Lebanese artist Katya Traboulsi. Their works highlight women and their role in society. Some works celebrate the family and womanhood. Some emphasize the importance of men women being equal members in society. Others focus on direct and indirect forms of gender violence, raising awareness to the legislation that encourages it. Abolish Article 153 opened its group exhibition at the Contemporary Art Platform CAP) in Life Center in Shuwaikh Industrial Area this past Saturday and will remain on view until June 4, 2015, every day from 7pm to 9pm.

By Faten Omar

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This article was published on 21/05/2015