My childhood memories often come to me as flashbacks. I see them flickering before my eyes and I try to reach out and touch them. I never can.
But I seem to have held onto one memory for as long and as strong as I can remember.
I remember a moment when my mother knelt down to lift me off the ground, her sheer fabric hair cover slowly shifting in the soft summer breeze. The smell of jasmine filled the air as she caressed me and looked into my eyes.
She looked deep and I delved deep.
I still remember the glint in her eyes, magnified by the light hitting just the right spot on her beautiful face.
The Veil is an ode to my mother.
I started this series as an exploration of a symbol that I am too familiar with. I wanted to show the veil (sheer fabric covering a women’s hair) as I remembered it: vibrant, soft, beautiful and completely feminine.
Having myself grown up in a moderate Muslim family with the majority of its women adorning a veil, it was impossible for me to look at the strong-willed women in my life as being subject to a symbol often portrayed as being oppressive towards women - that discounted them of their ambition, determination, their independence and ultimately their individuality. I wanted to show the practice of covering a woman’s hair, and sometimes face, is not restricted to followers of Islam - all the way from India to the Middle East women have traditionally adorned some form of head cover as a public display of modesty. Also female followers of other faiths have traditionally covered their hair as part of their religious practice, such as with Catholic nuns.
The Veil can bring women and cultures together – it doesn’t have to divide them.