They poured black paint on their exposed ankles and arms; the Moral Police punished some twenty young women, pouring black industrial paint on their exposed ankles and arms in a crowded Square in city center of the capital in year 2001. People gathered; some yelled, some clapped, some cursed, but EVERYONE watched.  It was profane and humiliating, it was barbaric and obnoxious; it was indulging and spectacular.

The groom would aim at his bride’s ankle with a pomegranate at the end of the wedding ceremony; he aims to burst the fruit and stain her skirt; the groom then claims his ‘marked' wife. This tradition was practiced until two decades ago in eastern provinces of my country.

Progress has been made but ‘I’, the woman, remain largely scrutinized, disciplined and confined by perimeters of uncompromising traditions and oppressive regimes. 

 

Performance, acrylic and pomegranate on unprimed canvas, 2010

Images courtesy of Ann Lacheiner-Kuhn