Arts Fest organised by Aware to raise awareness on violence against women
Staring blankly ahead, the two girls were silent as strangers touched their hair, painted their lips and stained their cheeks. Twenty minutes later, one was "prettified" with a scarf tied around her neck, while the other had a bright red Joker grin extending beyond her lips and facial hair drawn on with an eyebrow pencil.
But instead of being victims of bullying, both women were doing the opposite - raising awareness of how impossible standards of beauty are often internalised by society and inflicted on women - through the performance art piece.
Spearheaded by the Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), the "Pretty Ugly" exhibit was part of the one-day arts fest held at the Aliwal Arts Centre on Sunday. Called Break the Silence, it hopes to create awareness and a deeper understanding of issues relating to violence against women.
Other exhibits include "Mirror Mirror", a visual art installation of more than 30 mirrors that encouraged visitors to scrawl on a larger mirror negative labels they had received, such as "thick" or "scrawny". They were then encouraged to erase what others had written on it as an act of solidarity and a symbolic act of rejecting these labels.