Gallery says artist's film will be off-limits to men, despite advice from the Human Rights Commission that it could be seen as sexual discrimination
The Dowse Art Museum is preparing to screen Qatari writer and filmmaker Sophia Al-Maria's film Cinderazahad: For Your Eyes Only in the exhibition In Spite of Ourselves: Approaching Documentary. In line with the artist's wishes, men will not be able to view the film, which features female family members and friends getting ready for a cousin's wedding, without wearing hijabs.
In a statement, Al-Maria said images from the film were from exclusively female zones inside a home. “They, like this work, should be treated as privileged and private, for women's eyes only.”
Dowse director Cam McCracken has confirmed that the film will be off limits to men, in the face of advice that the museum's decision may be subject to a complaint to the Human Right Commission for preventing access to a sector of the public based on gender. “We respect the artist and the privacy of the women who are portrayed,” he said.”I haven't seen the work, and I won't.”
And Islamic Women's Council of New Zealand spokesperson Rehanna Ali says: “We hope it promotes some interesting discussion, rather than reactive controversy. I think that as a country we are quite mature now in the recognition of the diversity of the community we have here.”