[Reader-list] Princess Hijab

Inder Salim indersalim at gmail.com
Sun Nov 14 22:38:04 IST 2010

well dear Britta,
the pics are open in the net and dont belong to me, so i believe one
can do anything one wants, i recommend even to do anything with my own
pics if you want,
that is what interests me too

about the performance of Princess Hijab, i am actually keen to hear
some discussiion on the action itself.
it is very intense work, a socio-political but it speaks about the
body in a very intriguing style. half hidden and half naked....what
actually is the woman's body made up of?  even a man disappears in the
form, how ?


On Sun, Nov 14, 2010 at 8:30 PM, Britta Ohm <ohm at zedat.fu-berlin.de> wrote:
> Thanks Inder, for the Magritte links, really interesting; hope you don't
> mind I forwarded one of the pics (the second) onto my facebook-site, where
> the Princess-article has been circulating as well.
> Best -- Britta
> Am 13.11.2010 um 10:40 schrieb Inder Salim:
>> http://media.photobucket.com/image/magritee/girto/magritte-rape.jpg
>> http://www.artnet.com/Galleries/Artwork_Detail.asp?G=&gid=1161&which=&ViewArtistBy=&aid=661456&wid=77723&source=artist&rta=http://www.artnet.com
>> above two interesting paintings by Magritte
>> thanks Dear for posting the detailed report about
>> this artist Princess Hijab's action , a  very profound,
>> and it not certainly tilted towards the Burka Pasand ideology, there
>> the women are supposed not to expose even little hair on the forehead,
>> no naked feet, let alone the hair upon legs and thighs,
>> it is a very serious work and critics the  heavily tilted bourgeoisie
>> culture prevalent there.
>> hope to read some  more comments on this by others too, which is a
>> world wide debate at the moment
>> love
>> is
>> On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 10:03 AM, SJabbar <sonia.jabbar at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>  Cornered  Princess Hijab, Paris's elusive graffiti artist
>>> Princess Hijab daubs Muslim veils on half-naked fashion ads on the metro.
>>> Why does she do it? Is she a religious fundamentalist? And is she really
>>> a
>>> woman? Angelique Chrisafis meets the elusive street artist
>>> Angelique Chrisafis
>>> The Guardian,     Thursday 11 November 2010
>>> Just after dawn at Havre- Caumartin metro station, Paris's first
>>> commuters
>>> are stepping on and off half-empty trains. Then, at the end of the
>>> platform,
>>> a figure in black appears, head bowed and feet tapping with nerves.
>>> Princess Hijab is Paris's most elusive street artist. Striking at night
>>> with
>>> dripping black paint she slaps black Muslim veils on the half-naked
>>> airbrushed women  and men  of the metro's fashion adverts. She calls it
>>> "hijabisation". Her guerrilla niqab art has been exhibited from New York
>>> to
>>> Vienna, sparking debates about feminism and fundamentalism  yet her
>>> identity remains a mystery.
>>> In secular republican France, there can hardly be a more potent visual
>>> gag
>>> than scrawling graffitied veils on fashion ads. Six years after a law
>>> banned
>>> headscarves and all conspicuous religious symbols from state schools,
>>> Nicolas Sarkozy's government has banned the niqab from public spaces amid
>>> a
>>> fierce row over women's rights, islamophobia and civil liberties. The
>>> "burqa
>>> ban", approved last month, means that from next year it will be illegal
>>> for
>>> a woman to wear full-face Muslim veils in public, not just in government
>>> offices or on public transport, but in the streets, supermarkets and
>>> private
>>> businesses. The government says it is a way of protecting women's rights
>>> and
>>> stopping them being forced by men to cover their faces.
>>> Already this has prompted extreme reactions. One female teacher in favour
>>> of
>>> the ban was last week given a month's suspended jail sentence for trying
>>> to
>>> rip a veil from the face of a 26-year-old Emirati tourist in a shop, then
>>> slapping, scratching and biting her. On the other side of the argument,
>>> two
>>> French women calling themselves "niqabitch" reproduced the classic visual
>>> mixed metaphor of walking around central Paris in niqabs, black hotpants,
>>> bare legs and high heels, posting a film of it online in order to
>>> highlight
>>> the "absurdity" of the ban.
>>> But Princess Hijab got there first, and her simple, almost childlike acts
>>> of
>>> sabotage with a black marker pen still manage to be the most unsettling,
>>> with the widest audience abroad. Yet who is she? A French Muslim woman in
>>> hijab raging at the system? That would be a rare thing on Paris's
>>> male-dominated graffiti scene. Is she a religious fundamentalist making a
>>> point about female flesh? But she likes to leaves a witty smattering of
>>> buttock cheeks and midriff on display. If she's a leftwing feminist
>>> making a
>>> point about the exploitation of women, it's odd that she always flees the
>>> scene of her crimes. Is she even Muslim? Her fans like to imagine a young
>>> rebel outsider from Paris's suburban ghettos travelling to the capital to
>>> make her mark. But like Paris's greatest street artist, Blek le Rat ‹ who
>>> inspired Britain's Bansky ‹ she could turn out to be a fiftysomething
>>> white
>>> man who voted for Sarkozy.
>>> The Princess winds through the corridors of Havre-Caumartin sizing up the
>>> advertising posters lining the walls. She has agreed to meet as she
>>> scours
>>> stations for targets for her next "niqab intervention". In Spandex
>>> tights,
>>> shorts and a hoodie, with a long black wig totally obscuring her face,
>>> one
>>> thing is clear; the twentysomething doesn't wear the niqab that has
>>> become
>>> her own signature. She won't say if she's a Muslim. In fact, it's more
>>> than
>>> likely that Princess Hijab isn't even a woman. There's a low note in her
>>> laughter, a slight broadness to her shoulders. But the androgynous figure
>>> in
>>> black won't confirm a gender. "The real identity behind Princess Hijab is
>>> of
>>> no importance," says the husky voice behind the wig. "The imagined self
>>> has
>>> taken the foreground, and anyway it's an artistic choice."
>>> "I started doing this when I was 17," she says (I'll stick to "she" as
>>> the
>>> character is female, even if the person behind it is perhaps not).
>>> "I'd been working on veils, making Spandex outfits that enveloped bodies,
>>> more classic art than fashion. And I'd been drawing veiled women on
>>> skate-boards and other graphic pieces, when I felt I wanted to confront
>>> the
>>> outside world. I'd read Naomi Klein's No Logo and it inspired me to risk
>>> intervening in public places, targeting advertising."
>>> The Princess's first graffiti veil was in 2006, the "niqabisation" of the
>>> album poster of France's most famous female rapper, Diam's, who by
>>> strange
>>> coincidence has now converted to Islam herself. "It's intriguing because
>>> she's now wearing the veil," the Princess muses. Intially she graffitied
>>> men, women and children and then would stand around to gauge the public's
>>> response; now she does hit-and-runs. "I don't care about people's
>>> reactions.
>>> I can see this makes people feel awkward and ill at ease, I can
>>> understand
>>> that, you're on your way home after a tough day and suddenly you're
>>> confronted with this."
>>> With the Paris metro protective of its advertising spaces, her work now
>>> usually stays up for only 45 minutes to an hour before being ripped down
>>> by
>>> officials. She has become highly selective, doing only four or five
>>> graffiti
>>> "interventions" in Paris a year. But each is carefully photographed and
>>> has
>>> its own afterlife circulating online. The "niqabised" range from Dolce &
>>> Gabbana men's underwear to risque adverts for Virgin bookshops.
>>> Why does she do it? "I use veiled women as a challenge," she says, quick
>>> to
>>> add that she believes no one way of dressing is either good or bad. She's
>>> not defending the rights of any group and no one needs her as a
>>> spokesperson. "That's paternalistic. If veiled women want to make a
>>> point,
>>> they'd do it themselves. If feminists want to do something they're
>>> capable
>>> of doing it on their own." She later explains by email: "The veil has
>>> many
>>> hidden meanings, it can be as profane as it is sacred, consumerist and
>>> sanctimonious. From Arabic Gothicism to the condition of man. The
>>> interpretations are numerous and of course it carries great symbolism on
>>> race, sexuality and real and imagined geography."
>>> Princess Hijab is deliberately cool and detached, but the one issue that
>>> really shakes her  and perhaps reveals a little of her true identity  is
>>> the place of minorities in France. Beyond the arguments about whether
>>> Muslim
>>> women should cover their heads, Sarkozy's new ministry of "immigration
>>> and
>>> national identity" and his national debate on what it means to be French
>>> has
>>> stigmatised the already discriminated and ghettoised young people of
>>> third-
>>> and fourth-generation immigrant descent. France has the largest Muslim
>>> population in Europe, but the prevailing anti-immigrant discourse, and
>>> what
>>> many view as a pointless burqa ban, has increased the feelings of
>>> marginalisation felt by young Muslims and minorities.
>>> Princess Hijab sees herself as part of a new "graffiti of minorities"
>>> reclaiming the streets. "If it was only about the burqa ban, my work
>>> wouldn't have a resonance for very long. But I think the burqa ban has
>>> given
>>> a global visibility to the issue of integration in France," she says. "We
>>> definitely can't keep closing off and putting groups in boxes, always
>>> reducing them to the same old questions about religion or urban violence.
>>> Education levels are better and we can't have the old Manichean discourse
>>> any more."
>>> She adds: "Liberty, equality, fraternity, that's a republican principle,
>>> but
>>> in reality the issue of minorities in French society hasn't really
>>> evolved
>>> in half a century. The outsiders in France are still the poor, the Arabs,
>>> black and of course, the Roma."
>>> The Princess won't say what her own roots are. She simply says she sees
>>> her
>>> work as a kind of "cartography of crime" a mapping out of the underbelly
>>> of
>>> the city where "I bring inside everything that's been excreted out."
>>> And yet her graffiti is particularly French in its anti-consumerism and
>>> ad-busting stance. For her, painting a veil on adverts works visually
>>> because the two are "dogmas that can be questioned". She feels young
>>> women
>>> wearing the hijab who were once stigmatised by French institutions are
>>> now
>>> being targeted for their purchasing power, the "perfect customers" in
>>> France's increasingly consumerist society.
>>> Her next spree will focus on her favourite target brand, H&M. After all,
>>> its
>>> ad campaigns are plastered all over the Paris metro. She argues that the
>>> brand "democratised" fashion at low prices, women in hijab often shop
>>> there,
>>> and inking out H&M models is the perfect act of confrontation: "It's
>>> visually very striking because [the brand's] images are ideologically
>>> very
>>> present in the urban landscape."
>>> So these blacked-out niqabs seem to represent everything but religion.
>>> "Am I
>>> religious?" she asks, hesitating. "The spiritual interests me, but that's
>>> personal, I don't think it bears on my work. Religion interests me,
>>> Muslims
>>> interest me and the impact they can have, artistically, aesthetically, in
>>> the codes that are all around us, particularly in fashion," she muses.
>>> And with that, the graffiti performance artist scuttles off, kit-bag over
>>> her shoulder, to change out of her bizarre disguise and into her own
>>> everyday fashion and wander off above ground into the daylight.
>>> guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010
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>> --
>> http://indersalim.livejournal.com
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> ---------------------------------------
> Dr. Britta Ohm
> Institute of Social Anthropology
> University of Bern
> Laenggassstr. 49a
> 3012 Bern
> Switzerland
> +41-(0)31-631 8995 (main office)
> +41-(0)31-631 5373 (direct line)
> britta.ohm at anthro.unibe.ch
> Solmsstr. 36
> 10961 Berlin
> Germany
> +49-(0)30-69507155
> ohm at zedat.fu-berlin.de



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