Kuwaiti Artist Creates 'Cemetery of Banned Books' in Censorship Protest

Kuwaiti designer and artist Mohammad Sharaf created a “cemetery of banned books” on November 22, close to Kuwait’s Annual Book Fair, in protest against censorship by local authorities.

“The cemetery of banned books” remained in place for four hours before it was removed, the al-Qabas newspaper reported.

Kuwaiti authorities have banned more than 4,000 books in the past five years, according to the newspaper. Banned books include Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude and Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sharaf told Storyful. Children’s books and even an encyclopedia that had a photo of Michelangelo’s David in it have also been banned, the New York Times reported in what it called a stepping up of book banning in Kuwait.

Sharaf described his cemetery as being a symbolic piece of protest and a public art intervention.

“The installation includes more than 200 headstones engraved with the names of some of the books that were banned by the government in recent years. These books vary from children’s books to encyclopedias, to novels, as well as political and religious books written by local and international authors,” Sharaf said. Credit: Yantli via Storyful