Freedom Folks

Monday, June 19, 2006

Chicago Artist Continues Exploring Islamic Oppression of Women

Last October, Iranian-American artist Amir Normandi opened his art exhibit, No Veil is Required, at Harper College in Palatine. In a clear attempt at racking up dhimmitude points, the college shut the exhibit down within hours after Muslim students took offense with the artist's work. More background here and here.

Fortunately, Normandi gets the First Amendment and still has plenty to say on the subject of the oppression of women in Islamic tradition. His new exhibit, Desire No Shackle, is scheduled to open this fall as part of the 11th Chicago Artists' Month and 35th Annual Open House in the Chicago Arts District.

We are honored to exclusively unveil ( ;-) two of Normandi's new pieces right here on the Freedom Folks blog, where we like to get all First Amendment right up in your grill.

This Chador Does Not Cover

In the Dark

The first word that came to my mind as I looked at both of these pieces was exposure.

With the first piece, the obvious connection is the exposure of being semi-nude. The nude body is the physical expression of self, and I see a part of this woman that is normally hidden away under the dark covering finally seeing the color and breathing in the freedom waiting just on the other side of that chador. The first step at becoming a part of what is on the other side of the oppressive fabric. It speaks of endless possibilities.

As for the second piece, I made the connection of exposure with both the photographic effect and the woman's posture, which speaks of having been exposed. The position of her arms and hands suggest a reflexive instict to cover herself as if being exposed, like most everything else in a life of oppression, is not under her own control.

Both pieces are highly provocative, and I will be studying them for some time, enjoying the process of rumination. I do not doubt that there is imagery that goes right over my head, given my lack of knowledge regarding Islamic culture.

Please leave your thoughts in the comments section. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Normandi will consider it the highest praise if his work stimulates much conversation!

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