By Hiam Alsanousi
My name is Hiam Alsanousi, I study International Studies (International Relations Track), and I am currently a senior in the American University in Dubai. I am interested in politics and humanitarian issues and I aspire to become a diplomat or work in an international organization such as the United Nations. I love travelling and learning more about different cultures.
The theme I chose to focus on for my art project is women in Islam with specific reference to the ongoing stereotype that Muslim women are oppressed and deprived of the same opportunities that “Western” women are capable of having due to the rules of Islam. The artwork that I created depicts two sides, a woman wearing “niqab”, and on the other side a woman without the “niqab” but instead wearing a graduation cap. The medium that I chose to draw on is a mirror, because my artwork aims to reflect to a woman that looks in to the mirror that her religious background or national dress code, should not be able to limit her success and that the idea that women in Islam do not have the right to receive an education is yet another flawed assumption about the religion.
The reason I specifically chose women in Islam as my focal point in the creation of my art project is because Muslim women have constantly been victims to media and the stereotypes that come along with it. Whether classified as oppressed or simply assumed to be uneducated due to their dress code or beliefs, there is no denial that the media tends to make rash associations between Islam and lack of women rights. Lack of women rights is not something that is encouraged by Islam and in terms of women’s rights to education and success there is no reference in the Holy Quran or a specific rule in the religion in general that requires women to abstain from receiving an education. Another purpose for my specific interest in this topic is the fact that I am a Muslim Afro-Arab woman whom was given the chance to study whichever major I desired abroad, along side many peers with a similar cultural background.
Although I am well aware of the fact that there are women that are oppressed in specific countries and these activities tend to be highly associated with Islam, I believe that these accusations do the religion no justice. Different individuals can portray religion like most other things differently, which is why different Muslims act in different ways. People who do not follow the religion may also view some of the attributes of the religion as restrictive or extreme, and although having specific doubts about something you are unfamiliar with is natural, there is no justification for generalizing when it comes to religion.
Media: Mirror, Permanent Black Marker.
Dimensions. 30x30 cm Mirror.