The banning of men from watching images of Muslim women without veils in an exhibition due to open in New Zealand next month is discrimination, a lawyer says.
The Dowse Art Museum, which is run by the Hutt City Council is hosting the world premiere of an art installation which includes a video by Qatari writer and film-maker Sophia Al-Maria called Cinderazahd: For Your Eyes Only. It features women getting ready for a wedding without wearing hijabs, or veils.
Dowse director Cam McCracken earlier said Al-Maria's work would be off-limits to men in keeping with the artist's wishes.
"I haven't seen the work, and I won't," he said.
"I've bought into the fact that we take this work on the proviso that no men see it. We respect the artist and the privacy of the women who are portrayed."
Paul Young has complained to the Human Rights Commission, Fairfax reported.
Nicholai Anderson, a senior associate at the law firm Chen Palmer, told AAP that banning men would be unlawful discrimination by the museum or the people displaying the work.
It was unlawful under the Human Rights Act and the Bill of Rights Act.
He said people had rights to their own religious beliefs "but at the same time under the laws of New Zealand to not admit someone because of the sex they are is unlawful".
He said most cases of sexual discrimination were resolved at the commission level by a process of mediation.
The commission initially had no comment on the issue.
Al-Maria said in a statement that images should be treated as privileged and private, for women's eyes only.
Mr McCracken said the work was likely to be screened in a small curtained-off area behind the gallery's reception, not usually open to the public.