A SOLO EXHIBITION PRESENTED BY

BUILDING BRIDGES ART EXCHANGE 

CURATED BY MARISA CAICHIOLO

MOSTAPHA ROMLI:

20/21

THE MARRIAGE OF MINORS BETWEEN

DENIAL AND MELANCHOLY

OPENING RECEPTION:

SATURDAY, MAY 20TH 2017

6-9 PM

Building Bridges Art Exchange presents 20/21: The marriage of minors between denial and melancholy, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Mostapha Romli.

 

Mostapha Romli's latest body of conceptual work takes us on a dramatic journey inside the increasing number of children weddings that have taken place in Morocco in the last ten years as a result of the 20/21 law.

 

Romli uses the power of saddle and romantic paintings, drawings and prints to question this worrying trend and portrays the pain, sadness and courage that young girls go through as they lose their virginity in the early stages of their puberty. The images draw the viewers' attention through a series of feminine, though strong, brush strokes filled with symbolism.

 

In fact, the colors and symbols on Romli's art pieces are the expression of pain, melancholy and sadness themselves. But more importantly, they are the expression of stolen childhoods from these girls.

 

The attentive viewer will also notice a common thread throughout Romli's pieces: the presence of flowers, shells and floral elements, which represent the girls' beauty, sensuality, femininity, fragility and how they are being deprived of their essence in a brutal and forceful way.

 

Romli's ultimate goal is to show the negative psychological effects that marriage has on minors. But he also suggests that the consummation of marriage on the wedding night alone should be considered rape because it involves girls who are less than 18 years old, and for all intent and purposes, are children.

 

Furthermore, he believes that the fact that these girls may be going through puberty does not entitle anyone to consider them fully-grown and mature adults.

 

Besides the psychological consequences of early marriage, the girls are also exposed to early pregnancy, which can be particularly dangerous for their health and may result in osteoporosis, anemia, preterm births, hypertension and an increased risk of abortion as well as of maternal mortality.

 

Romli's artwork comes off as a powerful critique of the rules embedded in Moroccan society, in its families and enshrined in the law. His pieces provide a voice to thousands of girls whose thoughts and feelings have somehow been silenced by the system, its rules and its players. But the paintings, prints and drawings manage to break through the system and provide a window for the girls to experience their much-desired freedom.

 

According to the book by multiple scholars entitled "A New Paradigm: A Perspective on the Changing Mediterranean," child marriages were common throughout history for multiple factors, including poverty, insecurity, financial and political reasons, especially in rural areas.

 

Although the incidence of child marriages has decreased in many regions of the world, it continues to be widespread in developing countries in Africa, South and East Asia and Oceania. Bangladesh, Niger, Guinea, Mali and the Central African Republic have the highest observed rates of child marriages below the age of 18, experts and researchers say.

 

In an effort to fight discrimination and to protect children's and social rights, Moroccan authorities have signed and seconded international conventions, which are aimed at enforcing the Family Code and the Penal Code. But contradictions and loopholes in the legislation, particularly in Articles 19, 20 and 21 of the moudawana, allow women to be discriminated against. 

 

Scholars claim that Articles 20 and 21 give family judges the power to allow marriages before the legal age as an "exception." But this exception has become the norm despite the many concerns raised by feminist associations. 

 

The results are palpable: in 2009, the number of early marriages exceeded 47,000. In 2011, early marriages made up 12 % of all marriages. And the numbers continue to rise every year.

 OUR SUPPORTERS 

Supported in part by a grant from the City of Santa Monica

National Performance

Network (NPN)

Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York

OUR PARTNERS

QATAR VISUAL ARTS CENTER 

 

MINISTRY OF CULTURE, ARTS AND HERITAGE QATAR

KATARA ART CENTER 

 

NATIONAL AFFAIR

FOR CULTURE AND THE ARTS

MUSEO DE LAS ARTES UNIVERSIDAD

DE GUADALAJARA

IFITRY RESIDENCY OF ARTISTS

UNIVERSITY OF ARTS BAJA CALIFORNIA

CULTURAL INSTITUTE

OF BAJA CALIFORNIA

CONTEMPORARY ART

PLATFORM - CHILE

ARTE AL LIMITE

CENTER OF THE 

ARTS ESTACION 

ANTOFAGASTA - CHILE

BICE BUGATTI

CLUB

CENTRE D'ART CONTEMPORAIN

ESSAOUIRA 

REDLINE

CONTEMPORARY 

ARTS CENTER

LA ART SHOW

CONTEMPORARY

EXPRESSIONS OF ART

MAROC PREMIUM

FOUNDATION

THE BROAD

KAI 10 ARTHENA FOUNDATION

INTERNATIONAL 

BIENNIAL

OF CASABLANCA

MOPLA

CENTER OF THE ARTS

ENSENADA, BC, MEXICO

SANTO TOMAS

CULTURAL ART CENTER

ART SCI CENTER UCLA

VILLA AURORA +

THOMAS MANN HOUSE

IASAS

UNIVERSITY OF APPLIED

ARTS VIENNA

CONSULATE GENERAL

OF POLAND

SENATE OF BERLIN

NATIONAL YOUNGARTS FOUNDATION

ITALIAN CULTURAL

INSTITUTE OF

LOS ANGELES

LUCIE FOUNDATION

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Phone: 310-770-1961 | buildingbridgesax@gmail.com