British artist Sara Shamsavari proves how the hijab is far from oppressing for Muslim women in her latest photo series. She explores the hijab as an artistic fashionable and creative expression, bringing a fresh perspective to the discourse surrounding it.
Shamsavari, who is a non-Muslim of Iranian descent, wants to challenge stereotypes and invite engagement in the presence of the hijab. She wants her project to discuss the hijab “beyond differences.” She adds “a person should have the right to choose their expression and it seems this group of people are targeted with a lot of prejudice and abuse in the west.”
Shamsavari’s London based photo series proves the hijab and fashion are not mutually exclusive in fact, Muslim women can use it to express themselves in a way most fashion bloggers can’t.
She states the photo series was inspired by her own experience growing up in London in the 80s and 90s. Despite her blue eyes and fair skin, Shamsavari’s Iranian background meant she became accustomed to name calling. Yet this prejudice only fed her desire to focus on what she calls “uncelebrated communities” in her work.
She said,“With all depictions of ethnic minorities there is too much negativity and too many clichés and stereotypes. I wanted to do something that was the opposite.”