A belief in textiles: Can Moledina fur art change the perceptions of Muslim women? | art and design

sMoved to the UK from Dubai in 2010, artist based in Birmingham Moledina scalp He set out to restore the narrative about Muslim women. I think there is an erasure of Muslim women in contemporary art. There is a unique narrative that you find in the museum and exhibition spaces. There is absolutely no alternative.”

Moledina, whose work has been shown at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Midlands Center for the Arts and also as part of the Lahore Biennale, has created powerful and intricate works that include patterns, textiles, and symbols. It is inspired by the work of a Moroccan photographer Lalla Mr.who is famous for her portrayal of the identity of Arab women, as well as the writer Edward SaidOrientalism critique.

Her upcoming exhibition, Women of Heaven at the Icon Gallery in Birmingham, is inspired by four women whom the Prophet Muhammad named Women of Heaven: Khadija bint Khuwaylid, Fatima bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imran, and Asiya bint Muzahim. “There is something in each of their stories that are examples to us as Muslims. Their strength, their courage, their faith and their independence. They are role models.”

Moledina believes that Khadija’s story is particularly symbolic. She was Muhammad’s wife and had an active role in the spread Islam. She was a trader. In fact, the Prophet Muhammad was hired by one of her agents to go and do the sale. After noticing his honesty and integrity, she proposed marrying him, “says Moledina. She supported him emotionally and financially. This is a story of the independence and inspiring endeavor of Muslim women. Oftentimes, the story you get is that Muslim women are sitting at home. They are not working. They are persecuted.” .

Moledina’s work always begins with a pattern. She then creates intricately detailed, often colorful and ornate artworks inspired by the defining characteristics of Islamic design: floral motifs, geometric designs, and calligraphy.

In Ikon, there will be four wooden frames in the form of a mihrab, an arched corner indicating the direction of prayer towards Mecca. They are usually ornately decorated and form the focal point of the mosque. In Moledina’s work, a mihrab would frame the silhouette of each of the four women, who wear a burqa or chador. The surrounding patterns and embroidery will tell the story and identity of the women. “Designing takes a long time. I do 30 interactions for each pattern before I’m finally happy with it. A lot of them are small changes most people won’t notice, but the act of designing these patterns is almost meditative to me,” Moledina says.

However, Moledina is concerned that given the allure of Muslim women, it could also end up turning them into a symbolic figure. “It’s a very fine line that I need to navigate, to make sure I’m doing work related to my experience, without exposing myself to Orientalism,” she says. “With this work, I felt some responsibility. I have a daughter now. I want to take her to museums and galleries and I want her to see herself.”

Women of Paradise for the scalp of Moledina in Icon GalleryBirmingham, through November 13.

In the role: four acts of the women of heaven

Mary, Molina's scalp.
Mary, Molina’s scalp. Photo: © Courtesy of the artist

Mariam
“This piece refers to Mary the mother of Jesus, also known as Maryam, the mother of Jesus. It is rare to find images of Mary in museums or galleries outside the Christian imagination; she is always Mary, never Mary. This work questions the assumption of impartiality by presenting a different perspective About this figure. The silhouette is inspired by the typical composition of Mary and Jesus found in Christian religious paintings.

Film Not Your Harem Girl, for the scalp of Moledina.
Not your harem girl, Molina’s fur. Photo: © Courtesy of the artist

Not your harem girl
Inspired by the interiors of nineteenth-century Orientalist paintings, Not Your Harem Girl aims to deconstruct exotic and erotic Orientalist metaphors about Muslim and Oriental women. It particularly seeks to restore the Orientalist concept of the harem. The style includes elements of La Grande Odalisque by Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, and embroidered text With the phrase “Not your harem girl” and a henna design with the same phrase.

No one is neutral here to furnish Moledina at the Lahore Biennale.
No one is neutral here to furnish Moledina at the Lahore Biennale. Photo: © Courtesy of the artist

no one neutral here
“This piece is a digital print on polyester, and the canvas printed on the canvas results in a pale and inaccurate reproduction of the original. It creates notions of figuratively pale reproductions of Muslim women in Orientalist paintings and illustrates my interest in the cultural construction and visual mediation of the ‘Orient’ by painters Westerners”.

Khadija, Molina's scalp.
Khadija, Molina’s scalp. Photo: © Courtesy of the artist

Khadija
“Khadija, the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, was a merchant woman – a shining example of strength, faith, and independence for Muslims. This piece displays her tomb in Saudi Arabia before it was destroyed, verses from the Qur’an relating to her, and a beauty symbolizing her work as a merchant.”

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