Silenced

As a Muslim Arab girl, growing up in an Arab society, I’ve often felt like I was silenced or not welcome to be talking in my community. When I was growing up, my parents were supportive and encouraged me to always speak my mind but later on in life, the more people I met the more I realized how much it is frowned upon for a girl to speak up her mind in an Arab society. People constantly link their ignorance and their tribal mentalities to Islam, as an excuse for things they are doing. Therefore I wanted to show how Arabs use Islam as a cage for the Muslim woman and how they silence her. Women are often asked to be silenced, and their voice is considered as a sinful thing, which I personally don’t believe in, I wanted to emphasize on how we are imprisoning women with our culture and mistaking it for a religion that has nothing to do with it.
Inspiration:
I recently went to Hafeet mountain in Al Ain to watch the sunrise, and the gradient orange to yellow colors were really inspiring so I decided to use them. Furthermore, I believe that we always associate shades of brown and red with the Arab culture, due to the existence of a lot of deserts around us, so in a way these colors were all inspired from the environment around me, however each color has a specific purpose in the painting itself.
 The Painting:
1-Use of gradient sunlight colors as mentioned before, and the red is very prominent as a color of blood or suffering.
2-An Arabesque shape that presents a cage or a prison.
3-A finger that symbolizes silence.
4-Blood that is leaking from the cage.
 

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  1. Beautiful artwork and i do agree: sois belle et tais toi. This is how most men want women to be, at least in my environment. Beautiful and silenced.

  2. Published on the Red Lips High Heels’ Facebook Page:
    “I grew up in an Arab culture too and I never felt imprisoned or silenced! I have always spoken up my mind and pursued my interests. I have come to believe that in the 21st century, it is improper to generalize and speak of Arab countries as in one and common, neither we can do that to the western culture. I have realized that every country is unique and have various communities that define them. I agree with what you said about blaming it all on Islam, and I support your words! But I disagree in what you said about the Arab culture thing. I don’t normally comment on Facebook pages, but I felt responsible as another Arab girl to clarify things, this will appear on multiple Facebook users’ page, and the wrong image will be spread. But just like your parents, a lot of other countries enjoy open communities where parents,friends, relatives,”society” are as encouraging and supportive as your family. Things just work their way, it only needs time!”
    Dec. 13, 2015
    https://www.facebook.com/RedLipsHighHeels/?ref=hl

  3. I agree with you Zeinab Jaber Yassin: the Arab world is not monolithic. Numerous cultures, beliefs, practices and identities exist, coexist, and sometimes clash. Women find themselves in different, even opposite situations. The past and the present of most Southwestern Asian countries are filled with examples of powerful women and women who contribute to their societies at all levels. However, one cannot deny patriarchal systems and mentalities, and situations of oppression, discrimination, bigotry, sexism, etc. Maram’s perception is definitely based on her own experience which is part of an undeniable reality in the Arab world (and elsewhere). One of the goals of this platform (Facebook Page and Blog) is to offer a space for different voices to express themselves, like Maram’s and yours.

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