Filiz Cicek

Fornication (in French)
34 x 28 in.

All ideologies, whether secular, philosophical, political, or religious, deserve to be questioned. This project deals with the tensions between the female body and Koran by exploring certain verses that define women and structure their bodies and behaviors, making them secondary to men. The verses are portrayed in English, French, and in Spanish.

If my work is controversial it is because: Islamic adultery law punishes women with death. Islamic law enforces headscarves on women. Honor killings of women still goes on happening. Virginity tests on single women are still being implemented. Islam condones domestic violence and marriage rape. Current Islamic discourse reduces feminists into “whores”.

Having grown up in a household where family members were well versed in the Koran, and having read it in its original Arabic and Turkish translation at the age of ten, I have developed a certain level of respect for Islam and its practitioners. But those same family members who offered me the knowledge, never pressured me into practicing the faith in any shape or form, nor did they treat me any differently than my brothers, making me feel that I was a “girl” and somehow differently “inscribed” because of my gender. This is the freedom of choice and equality that I am looking for here and portray in my art.

I did not choose this issue; it chose me. This is my story; the political elements in it are quite personal and cannot be modified. This is also the story of thousands of other Muslim women, a story, which must be told, and women’s voices must be heard and not silenced by capitalist, religious and/or secular ideologies.

For one thing is certain: by its very nature, visionary art is controversial.

© Filiz Cicek