BY PRATHAM NANDWANI
“Some values must be universal, like human rights and the equal worth of every human being.”
The artwork is a collage created using images and sketches of certain events representing stereotypes in Islam based upon human rights. The artwork is titled “The Amalgamation of Humanity”; the basic idea of a collage is to combine several different pieces to make one united piece, which is the meaning of the word “amalgamation”, to combine. The media used are irregularly cut pieces of images gathered from magazines, newspaper clippings, articles, and even a few images created on my own with the aid of Photoshop and a few sketches. The pieces will be stuck closely together to form a larger final image; and the final image draws light upon the current events taking place around the globe showing the violation of human rights of Muslims due to the negative stereotypes placed upon Muslims. The collage is made on an A3 sized paper, which is 11.69 inches x 16.54 inches respectively.
My artwork is my attempt to deconstruct the stereotypes placed upon the Islamic religion. Currently, given the recent events including the Paris attacks and other attacks around the globe, Muslims have been viewed even more negatively than before, there are Muslims and even non-Muslims who are denied basic human rights in foreign countries based solely on their religion. For example, a man living in the West had been beaten up brutally and called a “Terrorist” simply because he is a Muslim, and in a country which claims that everyone has human rights, how is this humanely acceptable? An entire religion cannot be generalized for the actions of a few Muslims, if we were to base our perspective on mere generalization and stereotypes, then why are the Muslims dehumanized and portrayed negatively? It is important that everyone should be treated equally.
An artist who really inspired me was Saba Barnad, she is a Muslim artist based in America who creates vivid paintings with an amalgamation of both American and Muslim cultures. In an interview, she states “While creating human portraits showing layers of identity, I try to emphasize [their] Americanness and modernity, without erasing their Muslimness.” She mainly focuses on portraying Muslim woman enjoying the freedom to do things that everyday American women have the right to do; she believes that the media portrays Muslim women as submissive and dormant, and her artwork is her attempt to break these stereotypes. What inspired me is her method to address and deconstruct the stereotype, it is simply by using a simple technique to create a much complex and meaningful scenario.
I am a senior in the American University in Dubai, currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration with the aim of becoming an entrepreneur in the future. I was born in the United Arab Emirates, however, I moved to Hong Kong for a couple of years but returned to Dubai for educational purposes. Even though I love globetrotting, essentially I consider Dubai as my home and most of my friends are Muslims, hence, this project is more personal than just purely academic.