Sunday, March 29, 2015

What do you think they do?

Sally Aljaderi

This art project aims in the beginning at displaying different negative stereotypes about Muslims; then, it deconstructs these misconceptions by showing the true positive image of Muslims. My name is Sally Aljaderi. I am an architecture student in the American University in Dubai. I like sketching and drawing and one of my main interests is Islamic art and architecture.

My art work is a reproduction of a well-known meme in 9gaga, which is an online platform of user-generated images and videos. The meme usually portrays different viewpoints from different groups of people about a specific group of people and a final statement which is often the viewpoint of this specific group about themselves. Moreover, the components of this digital art work were put together and edited using Adobe Photoshop. The final product of the art work is an A3 matte paper with a black background containing on top in white the title “Muslims”. Below the title there are six photo frames arranged symmetrically in two rows. The first five frames enclose sketches that represent stereotypes about Muslims from different groups of people and bellow each frame there is descriptive text explaining to which group of people does the stereotype belong.  The last and sixth frame encloses some photographs of Muslims' actual peaceful and innocent life style. The purpose of the transition from monochromic sketches to colorful photographs is to show that the stereotypes are far from reality and only a creation of one's mind. However, the photographs are frozen reality; therefore it overcomes the false sketches. 

The main idea of the art work is to deny the false stereotypes about Muslims. Also, it does not want to create new stereotypes about the groups who the stereotypes belong to. Therefore, it does not generalize the statements, but rather mentioning that they are through some members of these groups only. Starting with the media which has the greatest impact on people’s minds nowadays. Some media portrays Muslims as terrorist. The sketch in this section is something you would see on daily bases in newspapers, Facebook, Twitter and many other means of media. Another way to manipulate people’s mind is Hollywood. Some Hollywood productions do not only destroy Muslims image for many grownups but also for children. For example, the sketch shown is from the famous Disney cartoon called Aladdin. Moving on, some westerns who have little or no interaction with the Muslim world do not know how Muslims' lifestyle is like. They would trace their lifestyle to what they have learnt about them in their history books. As shown in the sketch, they view them as some Bedouins who still ride camels although cars are invented. Furthermore, these stereotypes are also found amongst movements such as orientalism and feminism. Orientalist art always depicts Muslims from different nations as one. They eliminate the idea of diversity amongst Muslims showing them all as ignorant, violent and backwards. The sketch shows how Muslims are depicted as fellows who waste all their time doing nothing or watching women dance. Some Feminists also think Muslim women are oppressed and have no right to speak or do anything in a patriarchal society. Finally, the last frame reveals the reality of Muslims. They are normal people who consist of innocent kids, hardworking fathers and mothers, and old people who can always stop you to tell you an exciting story about their adventures from the old days. Muslims are peaceful people who love hanging out, having Shawarma, smoking Shisha or working out. They are not that different!

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