International Contemporary Art Project “UNITE to end violence against women”

The Embassy of Latvia in Azerbaijan, in cooperation with the United Nations in Azerbaijan and the Embassy of Switzerland wil organize the International Contemporary Art Project “Maiden Tower. To be a Woman”.

The Project is implemented within the framework of the UN 16 days of activism against Gender-based violence campaign. The global theme of this year is: “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against women and girls”.

The concept of the Project “Maiden Tower. To be a Woman” is dedicated to women — their lives, roles in the society, entertainments and problems.

Each element of Project program can be considered as a milestone of a new strategy to support and strengthen social integration through the arts and culture.

The International Festival of Contemporary Art “Maiden Tower. To Be a Woman” has been initiated by Honored Artist of Azerbaijan Sabina Shikhlinskaya in 2009 in Baku. It was the first collective reflection to the subject of the gender equality through the contemporary art in Azerbaijan.

The Embassy of Latvia is a leading Partner of the Project "Maiden Tower. in cooperation with the UN institutions — UN Women , UNDP, Embassy of Switzerland in Azerbaijan, Latvian Transatlantic Organisation (LATO), YARAT Contemporary Art Space, Park Cinema, Khazar University, ASAN Radio, Cultural Centre of Barda, Maksud Ibrahimayov’s Creativity Centre and PlatformArt.

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The title of the Festival is inspired from the main attraction and symbol of Baku city — Maiden Tower, shrouded in many legends and mysteries. Most of them are associated with the meaning of the word “Maiden” meaning the tower of the virgin in the context of woman — “Virgo”.

Contents vary depending on different stories, but the fatal outcome of woman’s life due to the moral or physical violence of a man is the key and dominant theme. This image of a woman in the East — weak and not protected in her rights and fighting for her freedom with only possible solution — death — is a kind of ideological stereotype, and it creates false priorities on the gender equality topic in the region.

Historians and researchers believe the name of the main tower of the city “Giz Galasy” means the Virgin Tower in the meaning of its inaccessibility, because the tower due to its very favorable location was never captured by any enemy. “Maiden Tower” was surrounded by Caspian Sea on one side and on the other side — by a town fortress, which made it almost unconquerable.