Hundreds of Shoes hung on Istanbul Building Representing Victims of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse is a major issue  allaround the world. Many women suffer abuse, and in some cases death, at the hands of their partners. In an attempt to alert consciousness on women being killed by domestic violence, around 440 pairs of women’s black heels have been hung on two walls of a multi-story building walls in Istanbul on Friday.

The haunting reality

The confronting artwork aims to draw public attention to the problem of domestic abuse which is so often minimalized. Two buildings feature the installation, one in Istanbul’s Kabataş neighbourhood and the other one in the Beyoğlu district. Instead of having his work displayed inside the building,  the artist Tuna Vahit wanted to grab the attention of not just art-seekers but bystanders who pass by the location. The show is a part of the non-profit art platform run by Turkish coffee chain Kahve Dunyası, Yanköşe.

People pass in front of a contemporary art installation set by Turkish artist Vahit Tuna


The meaning and artist behind the project

“I put up shoes to represent the 440 women who were sadly murdered last year, to create social awareness about femicides,” said Vahit Tuna, the artist behind the art installation. “This project will be on display for six months.”

In some parts of Turkey, it’s customary to leave the shoes of someone who’s deceased outside on the wall of their home. With this idea in mind, Vahit chose the 440 black high heeled shoes, because of how they look and what they stand for. He explained to Turkish media that heels are a sign of defiance and independence, mixed with feminine power and agency. He expressed that the women who passed away won’t have the chance to live their independent lives.

“Of course, these shoes have not been made by ceramics or were not sculpted, they are real shoes. They do not belong to the victims, I want to say that too of course. They are real shoes, and that’s why the way we interact with people is a bit different,” he added.