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UNDER THE VEIL In 1989, a New York group of anonymous women artists, writers, performers, filmmakers, directors, who

were fighting against discrimination, known as the Guerrilla Girls, published a list called The Advantages of Being A Woman Artist. One of the reasons they offered in their list was that, Being reassured that whatever kind of art you make it will be labelled feminine. Or, as Kate Millet puts it, the truth is that, due to social conditions, men and women belong to two cultures and their life experiences are significantly different,1 not only because their social life still divides them into two sexualy defined spheres of (womans) existence and (mans) public activities.2 Women realise their legitimacy through mens supremacy from the liberal principles of individual rigths, freedoms and choice,3 having been figthing for quite a long time againts their own sexual subordination that is deeply rooted in the mythological and religious legacy.4 Nela Hasanbegovi primarily deals with the topical issue of human trafficking, particularly the issues of trafficking and exploitation of women. Today, women trafficking and prostitution are the third most profitable branch of economy, right after the arms and drugs trafficking. In her essay The Traffick in Women Trafficking, Emma Goldman notes that the cause of prostitution lies in the very core of the capitalist economy that does not pay sufficiently the female workers, and in the double standards in raising and educating of boys and girls.5 Furthermore, the artist questions the institution of marriage: marriage as a natural or socially imposed norm. John Stuart Mill describes marital relations as the still existing primitive state of slavery...6 As the confirmation of the patriarchal assertion that wives are subordinated to their husbands by their very nature, the artist uses the motive of marital union, where girls dressed in wedding gowns are awaiting the court verdict, or the choice offered to them by their partners. The wedding gown represents female body, i.e. the very nature of woman. Nela meditates about how the body is seen through art, i.e. how it is treated by art, and about the societys attitude to female body through cultural, sociological and political matrices. Beautiful female bodies have always been presented in art. In another case, the body is the tool or instrument of manipulation, exploitation, trafficking and consumption. It is treated as a consumer good, the property that is disposed of through life-long right ownership. The artist elaborates the issue of realisation of rights through the concept of the body: demonstrating one's presence and existence by emphasising one's flesh. Jeanie Forte believes that, through the prism of the post-modern feminist theory, womens performative art is perceived essentially as political.7 It is interesting to note that it is actually in their act that public sees the radical antagonism vis--vis the modern patriarchal society that categorises every artistic action taken by women as a feminist political statement. The reasons for which feminism has become a political issue, while the issue of gender has become a cultural paradox, corresponds to the truth that, within liberal-democratic theory and practice, civil initiative and ideology are mutually juxtaposed. The slogan private is political8, confronts women with great personal and social dilemmas, given that gender identity is the primary identify of every human being.9 We need to pay attention to Nelas attitude toward feminism, her role as a WOMAN ARTIST and her womans position in society. She does not violate her own integrity as a person, nor does

she violate the integrity of her body. It is impossible to distinguish what belongs to the carnal from the very idea of feminine, not the femininity that is defined by gender, but the idea of identity that one acquires. A womans bond with her own body goes beyond the boundaries of the social and returns to the biological, i.e. to the essential. In the case of maternity, woman remain closely linked to her body, evaluatng the reasons for living more than life itself.10 Hasanbegovi is a feminist inasmuch as a part of the feminine remains hidden and unrecognisable beneath her artistic expression. In terms of ideas, her work may be observed as the art of intervention, where the author makes references to the situation that is beyond art itself in an attempt to change the conditions that exists in it. Following the Fluxus concept of performative art, Nela's artistic action in space is a classical example of intermedial action: it is a combination of an active act, theatre and video screening. Hasanbegovi maintains the unity of the four elements of performance: time, place, body and interaction between the performer and her audience. The cage (bars, fence), applied on the bodies of the participating women, who are part of the set design, is the conceptual arrangement of the stage. Constructing a virtual space for application, she, nevertheless, continues to perceive it with the eyes of a sculptress. The issue whether the artist wants us to see the reality through her own eyes, using her body, or perhaps even by her own body (in this case by the body of the women participating in her performance) is an unavoidable question. The story is focused on the body of young women artists, thus it unconsciously motivates a group engagement the birth of a collective. By dressing them in wedding gowns, the artist consciously marks them as a group in captivity; having marked them as such, she marginalises them in order to force them to give up their freedom and individuality. Furthermore, she challenges her audience to think differently, suggesting to them to become aware of the given situation. What she regularly does in her work is constantly juxtaposing motives, meanings and symbols. Each motive she uses thus assumes a new meaning, constantly redefining the meaning of the well-known notions and defining her own symbols. Silvija Derviefendi

Kate Millett: Sexual Politics (Sphere, London, 1969) Carole Pateman: The Disorder of Women (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1989) John Stuart Mill: The Subjection of Women (Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1970) Carole Pateman: The Disorder of Women (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1989) Emma Goldman: Living my Life (Dover Publication, Inc., New York, 1970) John Stuart Mill: The Subjection of Women (Chicago University Press, Chicago, 1970) Jeanie K. Forte: Womens Performance Art: Feminism and Postmodernism (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988)

This is the slogan of the women emancipation movement led by the second wave of American feminists in the 1960s Movement for Emancipation of Women
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Kate Millett: Sexual Politics (Sphere, London, 1969) Simone de Beauvoir: The Second Sex (Penguin, London, 1949)

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