I discovered Princess Hijab a number of years ago when the conflict over the Burqa ban in Paris was getting news coverage here in the States. Little is known about Princess Hijab outside of her work. Using a black marker she paints veils on subway the individuals in subway advertisements. An act she refers to as “hijabizing”.
I find her fascinating, not only her conceptualization of art but also the anonymity and the character she has created. I cannot figure out exactly what Princess Hijab stands for, the message of her work, or what she is attempting to represent. I know that she stands against intolerance and wants to call attention to the issues of immigration in France. However, this doesn’t resolve my confusion, what is it about her work that so intrigues me?
I certainly find it provocative. As a society, we are so bombarded by images of scantily clad or nearly naked men and women nearly everywhere we look, but I think that we have become desensitized to the point that the sexuality has lost its vigor—for instance, no one seems to find it strange that Abercrombie & Fitch advertisements for the clothes often portray men and women wearing nothing. By “hijabizing” the advertisement Princess Hijab has forced me to recognize the sexuality of the ad, by covering it she reveals it. I know this is not her main focus, but for me it has been a substantial consequence of her work, intended or not.