Bangladesh artists sorry for dog-collar feminist stunt

DHAKA:Two Bangladeshi artists who feature in viral videos of a man being led in the street on a dog leash have apologised for offending the country’s “culture” after being summoned by police.

Videos of Afsana Shejuty and Tutul Chowdhury’s stunt – a remake of a landmark 1968 feminist performance – were shared hundreds of thousands of times on social media and drew thousands of negative comments.

In the footage, Shejuty, a student at the Dhaka University fine arts institute, is seen leading the near-naked Chowdhury down a busy street in the capital.

Police said they summoned the two on Sunday following complaints.

According to a police statement, the duo explained that they were re-enacting “From the Portfolio of Doggedness”, one of a series of feminist art performances staged in Vienna in 1968.

“They expressed their sorrow” and promised not to repeat the act, the statement added, calling the stunt “anti-Bangladeshi culture” that was done without permission.

In comments to media published before the summons, Shejuty said the performance art was a “sociological and behavioural” case study.

“Society doesn’t tolerate it when a woman ties a rope around a man’s throat and walks holding the leash,” Shejuty told The Daily Sun newspaper.

“We wanted to reflect the system that the society has imposed on us,” she said.

Many activists say freedom of expression has been curtailed in the Muslim-majority South Asian nation in recent years.

Rights groups have also accused Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government of growing authoritarianism, including muzzling the media.