An art installation in Istanbul uses 440 pairs of women’s shoes to draw attention to the issue of domestic violence in Turkey.
In some parts of Turkey, when someone passes away it’s customary to leave their shoes on the wall outside their home.
Artist Vahit Tuna took this practice and expanded upon it. Each pair of shoes in his installation represents a woman who was killed by her husband in Turkey last year.
Tuna opted to fix the shoes to the wall rather than displaying his work inside in an effort to catch the attention of passersby as well as art enthusiasts. The telling artwork aims to highlight the sheer number of domestic violence victims in the country.
The shoes are displayed on two art installation walls which are part of Yanköşe, a not-for-profit art platform in Istanbul’s Kabataş neighbourhood in the Beyoğlu district.
The Yanköşe website explains its walls ‘open a space for expression to artists who produce unexpected, experimental, contemporary art’ (translated).
— Javid Nabiyev (@nabiyevcavid) September 18, 2019
According to Hurriyet Daily News, Tuna spoke about the Yanköşe project and his installation to local media.
Here is Yanköşe project. One artist each year uses these two walls to exhibit their art works. And this time, I wanted to exhibit a work here.
There are 440 pairs of shoes here. These 440 women shoes are equal to the number of women killed in 2018 in Turkey.
What this project does is… raises awareness regarding women murders and also materialises this issue like a sculpture or monument.
The artist added the shoes would remain on the walls for six months. He reportedly chose black high heels to represent independence and defiance.
The number of women killed by their husbands in 2018 comes from the We Will Stop Femicide Platform, which tallies up domestic violence fatalities each year.
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'isimsiz', #yanköşe Sadece 2018 yılında Türkiye’de 440 kadın erkekler tarafından öldürüldü. Teşekkürler @nilufersasmazer @kahvedunyasi @fiksatif @fulyaerdemci, Bülent Erkmen, Evrim Altuğ ve @ozgeakdniz bu projenin gerçekleşmesine katkılarınızdan dolayı 🙏 #kadincinayetleri #kadınkırım
The We Will Stop Femicide Platform explains:
Women, from all regions and social segments of Turkey, want to work, have access to education, get a divorce or break up with their partners if they are not happy, not to be forced to do things they do not want to and make their own decisions about their lives.
Rather than acknowledging this social reality and understanding women, men are responding [to] women’s quest for rights with violence and putting obstacles in their way. The lack of efficient policies that secure equal existence and rights of women is also encouraging men who are prone to violence.
According to the organisation’s figures, deaths are on the rise as the number of women killed increased by 31 from 2017 to 2018. At the end of this year, data from 2019 will tell if the victim toll has risen even further.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the National Domestic Violence helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.