While most of us can only do so in spirit, we should all walk with Kubra Khademi, no matter our gender or nationality. As a strong woman, an activist, and an artist, she is her own powerful triumvirate, offering inspiration as we watch her follow the courage of her convictions, and do what many simply cannot.
Designer Jeremy Burnich of Pittsburgh founded the Joy Complex firm, responsible for the 3D printed ‘I Walk With Kubra Khademi’ pendant. He was inspired to draw attention to Khademi’s cause after an industry peer and artist, Marie Meier, told him of Khademi’s eight-minute walk in Afghanistan on March 7th, 2015, meant to make a statement regarding the harassment and mistreatment of women in her home country, as they face continual oppression and violence.
“Earlier this year I created a pendant to raise awareness of Afghan artist Kubra Khademi,” Burnich told 3DPrint.com. “She wore a suit of armor to protest the mistreatment and harassment of women in Afghanistan. Her audience, almost entirely male, threw insults and stones, and quickly gathered into crowds. She walked for a total of 8 minutes and went into hiding for months.”
On that March day, the artist wore a suit of armor, made by a rather shocked local blacksmith and definitely provocative for Afghanistan to say the least, featuring pendulous and prominent metal breasts. She then walked through the streets as long as possible before being driven away by malicious, harassing crowds, made up almost entirely of male citizens.
For her cause on that day she endured having stones thrown at her by large crowds of men who yelled insults, ‘leered,’ and even groped her! In less than ten minutes, she was forced to ‘flee for her life’ in a car.
She has been threatened greatly since the walk, and has even received death threats stating that due to her feminist activism, she ‘will be killed soon.’ Surviving an attack by a group of men even, since she made her stand, Khademi is not giving up, but she has been forced into hiding.
“I would never be stopped … artists can’t be stopped. For now, I’m just waiting for this to die down,” says Khademi.
While there is plenty of outrage to be found here, on many levels, Burnich was horrified to learn that Khademi’s walk and the ensuing negative male reaction received virtually no time in the media spotlight.
“Do you know how much coverage there has been in United States media as of March 15? Let’s just say, if you looked in The New York Times for any coverage you would find one article. From the Associated Press,” states Burnich.
To combat the lack of news coverage, Burnich made a work of art to highlight Khademi’s brave protest and the continuing cause, as well as creating media awareness in the process.
“I created the ‘I Walk With #KubraKhademi Pendant’ so that people can show solidarity with brave women like Kubra Khademi and raise awareness about her art and her struggles,” says Burnich. “This pendant is modeled on Kubra’s armor – symbolic of what women have to endure around the world – from insults and cat calls in New York, to stones and death threats in Afghanistan.”
“Sadly, I failed to sell a single one,” Burnich wrote on his blog yesterday. “But, last night out of the blue I was contacted by Kubra (who is currently in Europe). First via Instagram and then by email.”
“Wow these are amazing !!
How innocent armors !
You bring me drops of tears now!
Innocent feeling of myself when I was a child wished I was wearing metal suit !
I am glad and surprised women from way far my society understand the dept of my work !
One is you !!!!!
I love your work by heart !”
Still readily available on Shapeways for $37.62, the pendant is 3D printed with a bronze infused, stainless steel finish. Burnich makes $20 USD on each pendant and gives all profits from sales to Women for Afghan Women, a grassroots organization dedicated “to securing and protecting the rights of disenfranchised Afghan women and girls in Afghanistan and New York, particularly their rights to develop their individual potential, to self-determination, and to be represented in all areas of life: political, social, cultural and economic.”
The goal with the pendant is to raise awareness about Khademi. Burnich also points out that Marie Meier is in the process of creating a piece of art to show her support for Khademi as well.
While Khademi’s protest may still be news to many, the plight of women in Afghanistan should not be. Still subjected to violence, poverty, and horror–even murder–these women should not have to suffer such dire vulnerability on a constant basis, and societal change is crucial. Purchasing a pendant helps give to this cause, and if you are not in the market for jewelry, you can also just give to Women for Afghan Women directly. Discuss this story in the 3D Printing For Afghan Women forum on 3DPB.com.