Rubble, Religion, Feminism, and Fashion: Art in the Islamic World

Shireen Shamia is an art teacher. She is 26 years old, and lives in Palestine's Jabalia Camp in northern part of the Gaza Strip. As a memorial to her own two brothers who have been killed, as well as all Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, Shamia creates art from the rubble of her destroyed house, which was shelled by the Israeli army in January of this year. Shamia says, "Life will not stop. I will challenge the Israeli occupation and rise up despite of the hurts, the difficulties, the destruction, and the siege."



Faiza Shaikh brings a Karachi sensibility to the London art scene with work that "fuses modernity with religious philosophy." In hopes of promoting tolerance and peace, Shaikh uses many religious traditions in her work. "The message of my art dispels misconceptions, which are based on hearsay rather than on knowledge. In this way, an attempt is made to create harmony and peaceful co-existence," she tells CHUP!


As tensions between the Taliban and Pakistanis in the Swat Valley hold steady, six women artists--Samina Ali, Samreen Asif, Tabassam Rizvi, Sadia Hussain, Nasreen Aurangzeb, and Faiza Khan (work pictured above)--speak their own "Personal Narratives" through the display of their artwork in Islamabad. The Nomad Art Gallery recently held an exhibition of the feminist paintings. "In present circumstances, a Pakistani women cannot be able to get the status she deserves because she is struggling alone," Ali told the Daily Times.


Though typically associated with Islam, many women and men across religions wear some type of head-covering. To hijab or not to hijab is a hotly contested feminist issue, but is that really the question? For some women who choose to cover, "how fashionable is your hijab?" is a more important inquiry. (Cuz hijabi fashionistas are fierce, y'all!) One such example is Egyptian model and designer Yasmin Mohsen, who also has her own hijab and make-up salon, and whose signature style of inter-wrapping multi-colored scarves has caught the attention of more than a few bloggers. Here's a video of a fashion conscious hijabi giving you a few helpful hints on how to wrap a Pashmina headscarf without obscuring your faux diamond adorned Dolce&Gabbana glasses. Check it...

by Mandy Van Deven
View profile »

Still Reading? Sign up for our Weekly Reader!

1 Comment Has Been Posted

I think I saw a very nice

I think I saw a very nice pictorial once in Vogue India of models in hijabs. The editorial was very glamourous. Personally, I don't have a problem with a woman wearing a hijab as long as she wants to wear it. It's being forced to wear one that I have a problem with. For some women the hijab is freedom and , frankly speaking, I do consider it sexy.
<img src="

Add new comment