Clothbound is a photographic series exploring the way in which the veiled Muslim woman is perceived in Western culture. The images employ strategies of concealing and revealing to visually depict the many facets of the veil and its place in Western society.
The use of diptychs reveals the dichotomy between how Muslim women are often construed by Western society and the diverse ways they choose to represent themselves. The first image of each pair removes any notion of identity or individuality from the woman by blending her into the background, rendering her invisible, cloaked by stereotypes. The accompanying image uses a similar aesthetic but, through her gaze and bearing, she assumes a role of power and assertion, granting her an agency she is not typically afforded by Western society.
Clothbound also focuses on the artist’s role as a modern Muslim woman using photography as her medium of choice. Photography, historically used to reflect and reinforce Orientalist discourses, has likewise been used to deny the Muslim woman agency. In these images, the artist reclaims the medium and uses it to counter notions of the oppressed, submissive, passive Muslim woman propagated by Orientalism.
Both the subject and the artist combine forces here to contribute their lived experiences and provide the viewer with an alternative, more informed perspective on the veiled Muslim woman.