Installed on top of Istanbul’s Pera Marmara Hotel, the video was taken down just after three days. The municipality allegedly claimed that it was causing visual pollution. The artist resisted and urged for an explanation from the authorities, but her petitions went unanswered. Her last resort was to produce another artwork as a reaction to the censorship. One month later in Depo Istanbul (a nonprofit art space), Eğrikavuk and her students put on a live performance that ended with one last phone call to the municipality—in front of the audience. In order to remind women to break out of the victim mentality which can easily become a trap, Eğrikavuk exhibited the two works together in the group exhibition “The Ends of Freedom” at Halle 14 in Leipzig, Germany, in 2019.
In July of this year, the brutal murder of Pınar Gültekin, a 27-year-old Turkish woman, by an ex-boyfriend also prompted outrage on social media. Women posted black-and-white selfies to protest the growing toll of femicide in Turkey and to emphasize that it can happen to anyone if the necessary laws are not brought into force. Thousands rallied in support of the Istanbul Convention, a treaty by the Council of Europe that fights for an end to violence against women.
Neriman Polat, an ardent feminist artist from Turkey, has bravely delt with human rights issues in her work for nearly 25 years. Polat is disappointed not to see more contemporary artists addressing this pressing issue of femicide through their art.
“My work becomes a way to commemorate women who were murdered, and to resist injustice,” she said. “By triggering deep-seated feelings in people, art can communicate messages more powerfully than words.”