After all the excitement, preparation and hard work I have had to cancel my Kickstarter project. To say I am disappointed is an understatement. Long story short I work in a very religious and very conservative college in Kuwait and somewhat naively I emailed the rest of the faculty a link to my kickstarter and details of my Big Book of Bullshit project. This was a BIG mistake and someone took it upon themselves to complain to my boss about the use of the cross in my work. Had they of course taken the time to come and speak to me directly I could have explained the context, that the cross is merely a symbolic representation of a confession as oppose to a rallying cry for Christianity! But hey that would mean holding an adult conversation and listening and who would want to do that when good old bigotry is an available option!
My boss was incredibly supportive and even backed the kickstarter campaign himself! Although I was strongly advised that should the ultra conservative senior management be made aware of the project that there could be repercussions. Reading between the lines this meant I could lose my job or if taken futher there was a chance I could be deported chances I wasn’t prepared to risk so the only sensible option was to take down the project from Kickstarter. Sad times
I am still reeling from this decision nearly a week later and it has made me seriously consider my future plans. Do I have a place in Kuwait for much longer? Am I prepared to compromise my artistic expression to remain respectful of a culture that doesn’t respect me or my values? I’m not so sure anymore. It’s a difficult thing for me to process and I think I need time to distance myself from the reality of the prejudice I’m living in so I can make calmer and more balanced decisions.
I do have a positive outlook as most of the backers that supported me have agreed to fund me privately which means the project will go ahead one way or another. It’s just incredibly frustrating that it had to come to this, however, this issue has made me aware of the potential problems I may face in producing this book. I intended to produce the book in London and have been quoted from a bespoke printers with whom I have shared my creative brief. I am now very concerned that the book may be stopped at customs when it is shipped to Kuwait and this could be a real problem. I need to consider alternative solutions and what options are available in the Middle East. It will be further challenges but I am determined that this book will go ahead no matter what!