The Islamic veil (or hijab) is often viewed in the “West” as an artefact of submission, misogyny and oppression. It is rare that it is used to demonstrate defiance, elegance or passion let alone fashion. Well known attempts to reclaim or at least reposition the discourse surrounding contemporary use of the veil within Muslim communities have come in recent years from the likes of British-Sri Lankan rapper M.I.A (see below) and US based organisation Mipsterz with their very fresh take on Jay-Z’s Somewhere in America.
We can now also add into the mix The Veil Series by British visual-artist Sara Shamsavari, which celebrates how women in New York, Paris and London express themselves in their very individual hijab wearing habits. Work such as this is important in shattering dangerous stereotypes, which serve as a platform for cultural imperialism. Shamsavari will be exhibiting her work at the Royal Festival Hall in London until the 29th March as part of the Women of the World Festival, which you can find out more about here.