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African proverbs about women form the subject of the work of this year’s Absa L’Atelier art competition winner, Maral Bolouri, whose installation is titled Mothers and Others. Suspended from several neatly ordered rows of cowbells are negative proverbs: "A woman is always a burden, whether she is married or stays at her parents’ house"; "A woman and an invalid are the same thing"; "Women have no upright words, only crooked ones". Below the cowbells is a small altar with several extinguished candles. It contains positive proverbs about women (there are just four). Bolouri says: "Most of the proverbs are negative; they objectify women; they’re misogynist. Women are compared with animals and they’re portrayed as imbeciles and as not having any agency. The smaller portion, which is positive, is about motherhood…. That is the only space where women are perceived as valuable human beings." Bolouri has a master’s degree in international contemporary art & design practice and a bachelor’s i...

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