On Looking and Seeing

An exhibition of Greek sculpture in Doha has led to the Greek authorities withdrawing two statues of male nudes. The Qatari authorities wanted to cover the interesting bits to avoid offending women,but the Greeks insisted they be displayed in full.

This raises two big questions for me.

The Qataris were acting to prevent offence – there is nothing to suggest local women were actually offended.Maybe they were flocking there to see the wonderful sculptures. Couldn’t they have just put warnings at the entrance of the show so any women of delicate nature could turn away before they were offended.

I think praise is due to the Greeks for standing their ground on this. Art is art,and should be shown as it was made by the artist, not censored at a later date.

Still in the Middle East, it seems that a young man called Omar Borkan Al Gala has been deemed officially too sexy for Saudi Arabia. He is one of a group of Emirati men due to attend a cultural festival but who were deported, according to Elaph newspaper “They are too handsome and the commission members feared female visitors could fall for them.”

Again,couldn’t warnings have been issued for any sensitive women to not attend,or to look away when they came within range of these handsome young men?

But lest we get too smug about our liberal attitudes and laws in the west, a film out this week, ‘The Look of Love’ staring Steve Coogan about London’s Soho district in the 1960s and 70s. Back then, nude women were permitted to display their wares, but only if they didn’t move. It’s not their moving that was the problem, was it?

2 thoughts on “On Looking and Seeing

  1. I can understand the Islamic reservations against artistic nudity. Generally the living form is banned in Islam as a form of idolatry, whilst modesty is encouraged, thus no nudity.


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