The idea for this work from Nezaket Ekici’s former Performance Permanent Words (2009), in which she also hangs upside down, reacting newspapers, quotations from the Quran and personal statements concerning statements concerning women’s status in the Islamic world, with all its benefits and disadvantages. Some stories tell about young women, even young girls, who experience violence against them, others about the view on women from the traditional perspective of the Quran. Some of the stories come from Ekici’s personal diary.
In her new Video Performance Disguise she takes a step further, showing a woman that finds herself not only up-side down, but who is hindered to act and to talk because of black plaster that covers her head, face and mouth. The artist becomes less and less comfortable in her situation, becoming even more emotional towards the end, when she is forced to shut up by plaster covering her mouth and a man’s hands holding her head.
On the one hand, the message of this work is obvious: the work deals with women’s status in the social structures of Islamic countries. Women are forced to behave according to the rules of tradition, and despite the Western view that equality exists, their rights are still restricted in many places.
On the other hand, the works provokes a discussion of freedom in a broader extent. The fact that Ekici hangs up-side down challenges the notion of movement and choice. Additionally, her voice servers as the last resort to express her criticism and feelings, which eventually has to surrender to a stronger force. The work provokes fear and a concern that this could happen to oneself, both men and women. In this way, Disguise discusses an existential dimension of the human being.