These 440 pairs of shoes were hung up on the wall of a building in Istanbul, Turkey
We hear quite a lot of stories about domestic violence against women from about every corner of the world and it is one of the most common reasons for violent deaths in women. Regarding matters in Turkey, these numbers speak to the fact that about 40 percent of women there have suffered from domestic violence, some cases having the most tragic end. In pursuit of bringing awareness to these problems, one artist came up with the idea of a monument no one could overlook.
To commemorate the 440 women in the country who were killed by their own husbands last year
It was made by a Turkish artist and graphic designer, Vahit Tuna
The artist himself said that the inspiration to act came from seeing the increasing number of messages about the problem on social media. However, he was aware that those stories tend to disappear as quickly as they rise to the attention of the public eye and saw the need of a reminder that could not go unnoticed for a long while.
He chose high-heels as a symbol of feminine power and independence that he wishes all women had
The high-heels never belonged to the victims but rather are a cultural gesture
The artist argues about the choice of using high-heels and not flats or any other kind of shoes. He says that on one hand, it shouldn’t be seen as a direct message as he chose heels mostly because of aesthetical reasons. It’s visual after all, so he had to think in that way. On the other hand, he contradicts himself saying it could be seen as a symbol of women being employed and therefore able to care for themselves, not being dependent on their spouses.
In some regions of Turkey, it’s traditional to put a person’s shoes outside after they pass
The family puts their shoes out as a symbol of mourning
The artist believes that knowledge is power and thus it’s important to know the problem and how can one tackle it as an individual. It takes a lot of separate movement to change the system. Tuna’s other projects also gravitate around social and economic issues his home country is dealing with.
The art installation is set up in a central location of Istanbul
The 440 shoes will stay on display there for 6 months