The Bearded Lady: Monira Al Qadiri

© Monira Al Qadiri
 The work of Senegal born Kuwaiti Monira al Qadiri is reminiscent of Byzantine paintings. The warm colours – golds, yellows and browns – the halos around the heads, the combination of photography and paint – and even the wardrobe of these self portraits – work together to create images that look like they come from the 10th century rather than today.

Of course, if you look more closely, key differences become apparent. For example where you might  expect to see Christian white men, you instead see a bearded Muslim woman – Al Qadiri.

Using Christian iconography is uncommon for a Muslim artist, and playing with gender roles is probably even more bold – especially for a Muslim woman. 

Al Qadiri's project statement for her exhibition at Sultan Gallery in Kuwait says,

"...the concept of the ‘Self’ is an important one. The Self is taught to be glorified and worshiped...
In this series of works, this tragic cycle of narcissism is expressed through the use of photographic self-portraits; many of them being saint-like and androgynous, with melancholic expressions, fragmented into many parts. By actively participating in the conceptual structure of her work, the artist wishes to convey that she too is not outside the cycle, reinforcing the sense of vulnerability by posing herself as the tragic subject."

© Monira Al Qadiri

No comments:

Post a Comment