"Thou Shalt Not Kill" - Protective Blanket Series | 2020
“Thou Shalt Not Kill” is the title of the sixth blanket in my Protective Blanket Series which I started in 2018. I dedicate this protective blanket to the memory of all the women and girls’ victims of femicide during the COVID -19 pandemic. In Israel alone, 22 women were murdered by their (ex)partners or family members during 2020. Estimating exact numbers is difficult because femicide is considered taboo and not always reported as the cause of death.
According to statistics published by the United Nations, while overall crime rates dropped worldwide during the pandemic – the number of femicide crimes shockingly increased. Global femicide estimates for 2020 range between a deeply concerning 100,000 to 200,000 victims.
During lockdowns, women cannot escape from a violent home for even a few hours. They cannot rest from the constant threat to their lives.
I asked myself, how can I, as an artist, help raise awareness of this horrifying situation. I want to open this subject that is still silenced in some communities and to contribute to public momentum towards governmental intervention through safety policies and education that will eventually eliminate violence against women and girls.
The Protective Blanket title “Thou Shalt Not Kill” refers to the 6th biblical commandment. The murder of females based on their gender is certainly not a recent issue although the term “femicide” was coined only in 1976.
The circle patterns used in the blanket symbolize the deep isolation feeling of battered women. My choice of intensely bright colors is to contrast between newlyweds beginning under an optimistic blanket of happiness, love, trust, and glorious intentions to the ironically tragic realization of the wedding vow “till death do us part”.
A wonderful aspect of Protective Blankets lays in the reciprocity that appeals to us as social beings, we can give a protective blanket or receive it. My personal frustration, hope, and wish are that every female in need will receive social and legal blanket-like protection from abuse and femicide.
Gratitude to models: Litay Marcus and Orr Atalai
Photos by: Sigal Kolton and text editor: Hadas Eyal
Thou Shalt Not Kill | Protective Blanket Series | 2020 Technique: Hand-torn Paper, Acrylic, Konjac glue, Thread, and Textile Dimensions: H:165 x W:130 x D:10cm
All images and text are copyright by Bianca Severijns 2020