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Turkish artist protest burqa ban with surgical masks

Anadolu Agency TÜRKIYE
Published March 29,2021

A Turkish artist living in the Netherlands is using the face mask order against the novel coronavirus to criticize the country's ban on burqas and veils.

Ersem Ercil, who works as an art director at an ad agency in Amsterdam, is protesting the ban with a project called "Legal Burka" -- made up of several surgical masks sewn together.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ercil said she designed the banned burqa with the mandatory masks, explaining that she wanted people to question the existence of the ban even amid the obligation to wear masks.

"This is a work of resistance combining the material of the necessary in the silhouette of the forbidden," she said.

Ercil said she dressed the Statue of Themis, a symbol of justice, with the burqa made of masks to point a finger at injustice and discrimination.

"While it's forbidden to wear clothes and accessories that cover the face according to the law, it's a serious contradiction that masks that cover the face are also mandatory," said Ercil.

The ban on the burqa amounts to "racism by law," she said, adding that it was crucial to fight racism and discrimination on a global scale.

Ercil also prepared a guidebook explaining how to make burqas and veils from a mask.

The ban on the burqa in the Netherlands came into effect in August 2019. According to the law, those who wear clothes that cover their face in certain public areas are to be fined €150 ($176).