Kuwaiti artist "more determined" after exhibition ban

Tue Apr 3, 2012 4:55am EDT
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By Sylvia Westall

KUWAIT (Reuters) - A Kuwaiti artist whose pictures of men were deemed "obscene" by authorities said she would keep on producing art that challenged perceptions of society in the Gulf Arab state after her exhibition was shut down.

Officials sent by the government told the gallery showing Shurooq Amin's work to close her "It's a Man's World" exhibition last month, three hours after it opened, the artist said.

The works were "indecent" and "obscene", a notice from the Commerce Ministry, seen by Reuters, said. Officials from the ministry - which issues licenses for art galleries to operate - declined repeated requests to comment.

Amin said officials focused on two of her 16 works - a painting of a woman in a mini-dress sitting on a man's lap entitled "My Mistress and Family" and a picture showing three men playing cards and drinking "grape juice" from a bottle which suggested contraband alcohol.

An Interior Ministry spokesman also declined to comment.

"I am going to continue to paint and I am going to continue to push the envelope. If anything, this is making me more determined than ever and more stubborn than ever," Amin told Reuters.

She has held nine solo exhibitions in Kuwait, including one called "Society Girls" in 2010 about the role of women in society, which she said sparked debate but was not banned.

Although Kuwaitis enjoy greater freedom of expression than citizens in more conservative Gulf countries and have access to a comparatively lively and outspoken domestic press, the state can censor publications and films it deems morally offensive.   Continued...