KUWAIT (Reuters) - A Kuwaiti artist whose pictures of men were deemed "obscene" by authorities said she would keep on producing art that challenged perceptions of society in the Gulf Arab state after her exhibition was shut down.
Officials sent by the government told the gallery showing Shurooq Amin's work to close her "It's a Man's World" exhibition last month, three hours after it opened, the artist said.
The works were "indecent" and "obscene", a notice from the Commerce Ministry, seen by Reuters, said. Officials from the ministry - which issues licenses for art galleries to operate - declined repeated requests to comment.
Amin said officials focused on two of her 16 works - a painting of a woman in a mini-dress sitting on a man's lap entitled "My Mistress and Family" and a picture showing three men playing cards and drinking "grape juice" from a bottle which suggested contraband alcohol.
An Interior Ministry spokesman also declined to comment.
"I am going to continue to paint and I am going to continue to push the envelope. If anything, this is making me more determined than ever and more stubborn than ever," Amin told Reuters.
She has held nine solo exhibitions in Kuwait, including one called "Society Girls" in 2010 about the role of women in society, which she said sparked debate but was not banned.
Although Kuwaitis enjoy greater freedom of expression than citizens in more conservative Gulf countries and have access to a comparatively lively and outspoken domestic press, the state can censor publications and films it deems morally offensive.
Amin and other members of the artistic community said that this was the first time that they had heard of an exhibition being closed down. The Al M. Gallery declined to comment but a notice on its website showed the exhibition was "suspended."
Works seen to be insulting to Islam, the emir, or calling for the overthrow of the leadership are prohibited in Kuwait where pornography and alcohol are banned and adultery is punishable by law.
Opposition Islamists made gains in a snap parliamentary election in February and liberal commentators have voiced concern that political change in Kuwait could lead to restrictions on freedom of expression and public life.
A small group of hard-line Islamist parliamentarians said last month they wanted to propose a law banning flirtatious behavior and "indecent attire" in public, which would include swimsuits on beaches, according to Kuwaiti media.
Most Kuwaitis dress modestly but there are no specific laws governing dress and women are not required to wear head coverings. Men and women can work together although universities are required by law to segregate the sexes.
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Robin Pomeroy)
KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwaiti authorities arrested a man late on Tuesday for … Full Story »Kuwait arrests man over Prophet Mohammad tweets
JEDDAH (Reuters) - A Saudi Arabian human rights activist and lawyer who has been … Full Story »Saudi rights activist says will fight travel ban
[ [ [['beyond the incredible personal tragedy', 3]], 'http://news.yahoo.com/stand-ground-laws-not-just-gop-policy-records-053103956.html', '[Related: \‘Stand your ground\’ laws not just GOP policy\, records show]', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['A JetBlue flight from New York to Las Vegas', 3]], 'http://yhoo.it/GV9zpj', '[Related: View photos of the JetBlue plane in Amarillo]', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['I went out on to my porch and heard a bang', 6]], 'http://news.yahoo.com/photos/dozens-killed-in-russian-plane-crash-slideshow/', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/b/87/b870130db8e1341aaa3e3f4a2aefcfcd.jpeg', '500', ' ', '(AP Photo/Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations press service)', ], [ [['Afghan security forces and police killed three', 3]], 'http://yhoo.it/H9BcJE', '[Related: Bales\' wife on his alleged shooting: \'He would not do that\']', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['looking for fireworks between the opposing camps', 16]], 'http://yhoo.it/GSvEsj', '[RELATED:\‘It’s going to be a circus\’: Activists begin protests outside Supreme Court]', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['entirely respectable way to put off the searing constitutional controversy', 8]], 'http://yhoo.it/GE6jSh', '[RELATED: Obama\’s health care law passed 2 years ago, but where are we now\?]', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['Witnesses said the gunman pulled up on a black scooter', 7]], 'http://yhoo.it/GzwOIW', '[Related: New York police tighten security at Jewish sites]', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['test Zimmerman for alcohol or drugs', 11]], 'http://yhoo.it/Gzn6VF', '[Related: White House says Trayvon Martin is local issue]', ' ', '630', ' ', ' ', ], [ [['Oikos University', 8]], 'http://news.yahoo.com/photos/deadly-oakland-university-shooting-slideshow/', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/cv/ip/ap/default/120402/shooting.jpg', '450', ' ', 'REUTERS/Reuters TV/KNTV/Handout', ], [ [['Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood', 7]], 'http://yhoo.it/GUovUP', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/2/61/261d2c36bccf0971c2734a4d4398aa5a.jpeg', '512', ' ', 'AP/David Goldman', ], [ [['Can you create commerce in order to regulate it', 9]], 'http://yhoo.it/GSgtu8', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/7/78/778e2416573870cd705774e92403447d.jpeg', '630', ' ', 'AP/Charles Dharapak', ], [ [['associated with such a small earthquake', 4]], 'http://yhoo.it/GTco9z', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/0/b4/0b493c1a47b6e3f97f8f48a2b251d7d4.jpeg', '630', ' ', 'AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger', ], [ [['Fox News host Geraldo Rivera sparked outrage', 3]], 'http://yhoo.it/GKMVTk', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/2/7c/27c7367bc512d233ae1790b320a5e92c.jpeg', '630', ' ', 'AP Photo/John Minchillo', ], [ [['The charges signed against Bales include', 1]], 'http://yhoo.it/wZT5zV', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/7/a0/7a07c51b2aa0f39b1a23355046d13870.jpeg', '512', ' ', 'AP Photo/DVIDS\, Spc\. Ryan Hallock\, File', ], [ [['George Zimmerman, if I had a son', 6]], 'http://news.yahoo.com/photos/thousands-protest-fla-teen-death-1332387124-slideshow/', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/os/152/2012/03/22/d761a49f3fcc99080a0f6a70670053cd-jpg_150905.jpg', '500', ' ', 'AP Photo/John Minchillo', ], [ [['xxxxxxxxxxxx', 11]], 'http://news.yahoo.com/photos/russian-grannies-win-bid-to-sing-at-eurovision-1331223625-slideshow/', 'Click image to see more photos', 'http://l.yimg.com/a/p/us/news/editorial/1/56/156d92f2760dcd3e75bcd649a8b85fcf.jpeg', '500', ' ', 'AP', ] ]
[ [ [['because I know God protects me', 14], ['Brian Snow was at a nearby credit union', 5]], '28811216', '0' ], [ [['The state news agency RIA-Novosti quoted Rosaviatsiya', 6]], '28805461', '0' ], [ [['measure all but certain to fail in the face of bipartisan', 4]], '28771014', '0' ], [ [['matter what you do in this case', 5]], '28759848', '0' ], [ [['presume laws are constitutional', 7]], '28747556', '0' ], [ [['has destroyed 15 to 25 houses', 7]], '28744868', '0' ], [ [['short answer is yes', 7]], '28746030', '0' ], [ [['opportunity to tell the real story', 7]], '28731764', '0' ], [ [['entirely respectable way to put off the searing constitutional controversy', 7]], '28723797', '0' ], [ [['point of my campaign is that big ideas matter', 9]], '28712293', '0' ], [ [['As the standoff dragged into a second day', 7]], '28687424', '0' ], [ [['French police stepped up the search', 17]], '28667224', '0' ], [ [['Seeking to elevate his candidacy back to a general', 8]], '28660934', '0' ], [ [['The tragic story of Trayvon Martin', 4]], '28647343', '0' ], [ [['Karzai will get a chance soon to express', 8]], '28630306', '0' ], [ [['powerful storms stretching', 8]], '28493546', '0' ], [ [['basic norm that death is private', 6]], '28413590', '0' ], [ [['songwriter also saw a surge in sales for her debut album', 6]], '28413590', '1', 'Watch music videos from Whitney Houston ', 'on Yahoo! Music', 'http://music.yahoo.com' ], [ [['keyword', 99999999999999999999999]], 'videoID', '1', 'overwrite-pre-description', 'overwrite-link-string', 'overwrite-link-url' ] ]