Artist revisits source of inspiration for her 2016 installation "Silent, Silenced, Silence".
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....
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.
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.
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.
Fairy, a Hindu family maid, wears a borrowed pink scarf and solemn expression to pose for her first picture in front of a blooming rose bush.
On July 4, Anjula and I flew to Delhi together. At the airport a man picked up her suitcase by mistake and Anjula had to take a 5 hour bus ride west to retrieve it. This was my first expose to the man/woman imbalance in India. The man would have never gone out of his way to return the suitcase. It was the woman's duty to shoulder the burden of inconvenience.
In India I had seen every possible variation of being human and of humanity--good and bad--and it was unrelenting and afterwards, It became important to look inside myself and others and recognize the Divine.