The title of my work is “Hope In A Divided World”. I used a digital photo editing program to design a collage of digital photographs then adjusted the lighting features to bring the viewer’s focus to one area in particular. The purpose of my work is to demonstrate how misconceptions and misinterpretations of Islam common in Western society vary from what the religion truly represents. In order to show this, I found images that represent common stereotypes associated with Islam. These images represent certain themes that have unfortunately led to a sense of “islamophobia” in the Western world. Such stereotypes develop by associating Islam with certain events, figures, groups, and ideas that portray the religion in a negative light. Moreover, on the opposite side of the collage, I included images which represent what I believe to be the true nature Islam. These images come from what I have learned about the religion through years of studies and interactions with Muslims. I believe that they portray the true identity of 99% of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.
I was greatly influenced by the brilliant use of digital photography that I saw at Art Dubai. Two artists in particular stood out to me: Tiffany Chung and Abdullah Al Othman. They both used photography to reveal a more natural and authentic message regarding Muslim society. After I decided that I wanted to use digital images in my art project, I was influenced by my experiences as an American studying Islam in the Middle East. Coming from the West, I feel that I have a good understanding of common misinterpretations of the religion that I can weigh against the truths I have learned in studying Islam. My goal is to demonstrate that, although the West and the Muslim world often do not see eye-to-eye, there is always hope for a better future through greater understanding. Coexistence is what we should all strive for. That is the reason the focus of the collage is on that particular word and image. I wanted this idea to shine brighter than everything else.
I am an American student interested in global politics and Middle Eastern studies. I grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana but my dad’s side of the family is from Lebanon. I have been inspired by my roots to learn more about the Middle East and its people.