Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hijab and bare bra do not mix


An art student who wears Muslim headdress is defending her right to freedom of expression after a photo she snapped was removed from public display at a British Columbia university.

The large black and white print depicts a woman in full Islamic scarf and cloak holding a flower-embossed bra while folding laundry.

Sooraya Graham produced the image and presented it earlier this year for a class assignment as part of her fine arts degree at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

Not long after it had been hung in the school hallway, she overheard a woman who also wears a head scarf saying she had peeled the artwork off the wall.

That decision inadvertently put the photograph into greater public view, and has now generated debate about cultural misconceptions, community representation and censorship.

"I have a lot to express," Graham said in an interview Thursday, explaining she wanted to remind people that Muslim women wear undergarments too.

"Even though some people want to silence those thoughts or make them go away, we live in Canada where as long as we're not hurting another individual we have that right to express ourselves."

The 24-year-old photographer, who grew up in small town Northern B.C. and has been studying at the B.C. Interior institution for several years, said the reaction was unexpected.

"I found it really intrusive," she said of the unilateral move to censor her work.

"There are things I encounter in the world I don't like or I don't agree with, but I would never take something down."

The rest of the story can be found at huffingtonpost.ca