Title: Tradition Project – Silence
Country: Yemen/United Kingdom
In my visual elopement from childhood to my coming of age, I recall an atmosphere of oppression, deep within me are memories of my own rite of passage to womanhood and bearing witness to the everyday experiences of the subjugation of women. I was born and brought up in Aden, South Yemen, Male domination was and continues to be the norm in South Yemen. As I struggle towards maturity I realise that I must overcome an unconscious that is dominated by traditional edicts that all aspects of sexuality should be regarded as unclean, unseen and never spoken of.
In my work I wish to highlight the different cultures that makes tradition the ward of society and force the oppression of women and girls. These cultures demand of us to follow these rules, In the process of the culture, we give up our rights as women. Our integration into that culture becomes the acceptance of our subjugation, as females in these cultures we are considered lesser beings and the males are considered superior. Our self-destruction as females comes with the acceptance of culture. To empower women and girls to change their role in a culture, I offer this art project “Tradition” to enter the dialogue of society. I believe that this exhibit, like one drop of water in a wave of change, can play a role in society’s development and the transformation of culture. “Tradition” can help break the chains of culture and educate both genders of the basic human right to consider that all people are equal and must be treated with dignity, respect and the access to opportunity for the pursuit of fulfilment in life.
Tasleem Mulhall is based in Redlees Studio where she showcases much of her work, from photography, oil paintings, and various sculptures from small clay models to giant metal statues. She is also highly proficient in performance art and believes this is another liberating means for artists to express themselves. She is the first British Yemeni female artist to be exhibited abroad and in many different mediums. Tasleem also works as a photojournalist and is a high profile campaigner against forced and child marriage. Tasleemʼs work often touches upon how women are depicted and treated in Arabic culture whilst still acknowledging that women are sexual beings. Many may think that such political polemy should have no place in art, but her work expresses the world as she has experienced it. For her it is the truth. Tasleemʼs art may be controversial but it has not stopped her being active within Yemeni organisations in Britain and with the ambassadorʼs office in London. While there are aspects of Yemeni culture that she objects to, such as much of the treatment of women, she is still proud of her heritage.