I want inner peace. I want love. I wanted the experience of being a woman in Abaya; I choose to do it for 21 days. I wore the garment as an artistic experience. I am an artist. Here's what i found out....
Abaya can be a fashion garment and some women have 30 or more abayas in their closet. Wafaa explained that women like to show off their new clothes, no matter where they live. But in Saudi Arabia, when you go out of the house, it’s not realistic to think you will have opportunity to show off your new jeans and a blouse--but you can show off your new abaya.
Boston Artists Bo Petran and Christine Palamidessi discuss their upcoming show--Wabi-Sabi, Febraury 2019-- and the intent behind the Abaya project.
During the past 16 days many people have asked why I am not covering my hair when I am wearing the abaya and the veil. I thought it might be interesting to bring in an expert: the wonderful and lovely Saudi woman who is mentoring me during the abaya project.
Today I talked to Wililam DeLove, a homeless person. When I told him I was an artist experiencing 21 Days in the Abaya. He said, "I thought you were a nun."
The Indian statue at Sunrise Park on the Mohawk Trail greets the Great Spirit and reminds us: Love. Love. Love. Other people. Your fate. Your obstacles. Love it all. Because it’s the only way.
Since today is the anniversary of the Saudi Arabia's royal decree allowing the government to issue drivers license to women, and I'm in Watkins Glen (car racing capital) , it is also a good day to pay tribute to a woman’s right to drive her own car; say what she needs to say; stand up for herself and her country.
A busload of Chinese tourists at a Massachusetts rest stop were trying so hard to buy chicken nuggets and hamburgers and I decided to help them out with pictures and sign language.
Not many people know much about Muslim women and their garments. Most of us think it is an ancient way to dress. In fact it is not. The outfit I am wearing, and the full black ‘cage’ is a new fashion in Middle East. Prior to the late 70s, early 80s women were not required to wear the body covering garment. They might wear head covering as simple as a scarf and dressed modestly. The change came when the religious fundamental cleric class made the laws regarding women’s clothing.
During my subway ride, a woman stared at me as if i were an insect. When I got up to leave she followed my movement out with her eyes and even turned around and looked at me through the window as the train pulled away, as if she wanted to be sure I was gone.
Today, at the subway station, had to deal with the logistics of wearing abaya--like how to keep hem clean, how not to get it caught in the elevator steps and how to hold onto the veil when its slip sliding off the head.
Our instincts push us towards the comfortable. And I think that seeking to be comfortable can be dangerous. I am an artist, and a good one. If I stayed in a comfort zone, I might be making a different kind of art, a polite art. That’s not my intention: there are enough people doing nice art. I’d rather provoke thinking rather than feeling.
You just can’t keep a girl away from her tools and her power of observation. It's really hitting home that people don’t pay much attention to what’s going on around them. I suppose this human condition is what criminals, terrorists, and cheaters count on: operating in the realm of other’s unawareness.
I went to an Open House for a $2.4 million Cambridge property near Harvard University. The back page of the 10-page brochure that the agents handed out to visitors featured a quote from T.S. Eliot “Home is Where One Starts From.” I wore my abaya.
When a woman in an Abaya is seen on the street with a man let’s assume everyone figures he is related to her and that the man is Muslim...and if he is Muslim, he is the person who has requested his wife, daughter, sister cover her body in public.
I stated Day 3 feeling a bit like an interloper until two women said "excuse me" in Arabic as they brushed past me and their polite, expressed respect, and kindness made me cowgirl-up, shifting my mood.
In the market On Day 2 Woman in Abaya the artist experienced that she was not invisible, that men noticed her as a human not as a sexual object, women looked sideways at her and that most people didn't look at all since they were involved with their cell phones.