Atefah is an urban intervention and projection work that was located in the Kings Domain, Melbourne. It re-contextualized the memorial of First World War martyr, Nurse Edith Cavell. Sculpted by one of Australia’s earliest prominent female artists, Margaret Baskerville.

Nurse Cavell worked with the Red Cross and equally assist wounded soldiers from her own country as well as soldiers from the opposing side, Germany. She was later captured and trialed by the Germans for helping allied soldiers to escape and was shortly executed after a full confession and for refusing to implicate any of the other staff. The heroism of her death was used for a major propaganda campaign by the British to win support and alliance with the US.

For this work, the stone would be shifted from its memorial permanency to something contemporary.  It was a personal project for the artist and one she connected to the plight of women in the Arabic world who were fighting for their rights. On reading books and articles about the experiences of Iranian women, the artist uncovered the case of executed teenager, Atefah Hirsi Ali.  There are few similarities to Edith’s life, however what they both shared was the public outrage following their death and a much larger message than the circumstances surrounding their execution.

VideoTape 5/05/2009 10:24 PM VideoTape 5/05/2009 8:01 PM (3)

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