the dots between pop art and islam
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Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
Arab Today, arab today

The dots between pop art and Islam

Arab Today, arab today

the dots between pop art and islam

Mai Mihaimeed

Hannah Habibi Hopkin is a London based artist whose work explores gender, religion and identity. Her current work turns traditional concepts of embroidery, as a romanticised pastime for a docile woman, into a "weapon of resistance" against gender constraints.  Hopkin converted to Islam when she was 24 and has worn the hijab for several years.  Born in Bristol in the United Kingdom, she grew up in London and became fascinated by Arab culture.  Hopkin plays with seemingly mystifying Middle Eastern and North African topics and alters them into a recognisable Western mould – her choice of style – Pop Art.  Her work is inspired by her experiences living as a white, blue-eyed woman wearing traditional Muslim dress in Britain. The many responses she received ignited the ideas for her paintings and photographs. "I find that people often project stereotypes upon you when you're wearing a scarf," she told the BBC. "Certain items of clothing, such as hijab and abaya, have become invested with such potent politicised symbolism – the wearer's personal identity becomes secondary to her outward appearance.” A political undertone certainly runs through my favourite piece by Hopkin. Although outwardly playful – with the use of bold bright colours – the adaption of the proverbial "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" was influenced by the Egyptian uprising in 2011. The art work was inspired by the scenes of revolutionary slogans spray painted  on the streets.  Hopkins said of the piece: “The message is about censorship: it started off looking at the concept of state censorship, but also self-censorship, when people are too afraid or unable to speak." The artist’s recent work challenges the "virgin/whore" dichotomy.  Women in burqa’s photographed in iconic 21st century poses and scenes aim to depict Hopkin’s belief that we can no longer separate the image of the burqa from the idea of oppression. “It doesn't matter whether you're from London or Kabul,” she says, women of all backgrounds are still being confronted by these contrasting attitudes. Hopkin intends to spark a better understanding of Muslim women in Western society, which she feels need  better representation in the media  and not to be simply talked about. Her art has been shown in the UK's major cities and is owned by a large number of international collectors. Some of her pieces can be viewed online at www.hannahhabibi.com The views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent or reflect the editorial policy of Arabstoday.

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the dots between pop art and islam the dots between pop art and islam

 



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