The problem of gender

Place Africa: Somalia, Baidoa
Accession Number ART90980
Collection type Art
Measurement framed: 171 cm x 256.5 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Maker Gittoes, George Noel
Place made Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Bundeena
Date made 1994-1995
Conflict Period 1990-1999
Somalia, 1992-1995

Item copyright: AWM Licensed copyright


Depicts four male figures, two female figures and a child; buildings in the background. One of the duties of the peacekeeping force in Somalia was to search civilians for concealed weapons and to confiscate these. With respect to the Islamic religion only women military police were permitted to search Somali women for concealed weapons. A riot almost broke out when a soldier, seemingly male, searched a Somali woman. When the soldier, Julie Baranowski, removed her helmet revealing her long blond hair the mood changed from anger to astonishment. Gittoes' depiction of the event shows his characteristic expressionistic realism and bold style. George Gittoes was in Somalia in late February 1993, where he lived and worked with the Australian soldiers, first in Mogadishu and then predominantly in Baidoa and outlying areas.