Violence against women is a pressing issue across the globe, but in some countries, it’s more extreme than others. In Turkey, for example, 42% of women over the age of 15 have suffered from physical or sexual violence.
Last year in Turkey, 440 women were murdered by their own husbands. An artist decided to come up with a powerful memorial to pay tribute to the murdered women and to bring awareness to the problem in his country.
Vahit Tuna said he had seen a lot of posts about the Turkish problem on social media, but he also realized that the stories came and went with a disturbing quickness. Tuna was determined to keep the issue in the public eye somehow.
Tuna chose to use 440 pairs of high heels in his memorial as a sign of female empowerment and independence that he sadly wishes was more of a reality in Turkey. In some parts of Turkey, it’s a tradition to put a person’s shoes outside after they pass away, so the memorial has even more cultural significance in the country.
The memorial is set up in central Istanbul so it will be seen by many people in the busy city. Tuna said, “We wanted everyone passing by the road to see [the work]. This is why we did not want to host the exhibition in a closed area.”
The 440 pairs of shoes are set to remain on exhibit for six months. Hopefully, as many people as possible will see the memorial and it will spark some painful and necessary conversations in Turkey.