Who is ​MOOSLEEMARGH? Representing Self Through Art

Who is Mooslemargh? Repesenting Self Through Art

By Nasima A. 

I had always felt passionate about the representation of people of colour and Muslims within our everyday media but, my desire for representation was fueled after flicking through a graduate scheme booklet one day and only seeing images of White people. I felt excluded, like I wouldn’t belong just because I failed to see someone that looked like me being used as an example of success 

Being a veiled, Muslim woman in the west can have you feeling a bit alienated at times. People assume that you are conservative or that you’d have nothing in common with themWhen I was at university, a group of students were delivering a presentation and at one point they brought up an image of a Muslim woman in niqab, and asked the class, “Who wouldn’t go up and talk to her?” My heart sank as I saw almost everyone raise their hands. Recently I’ve been feeling this sense of ‘otherness’ more strongly whilst applying and attending interviews for marketing roles. I see an entire team made up of White people and I wonder how they see me fitting in; I have to work harder to prove myself, it seems. 

This is why my art project, Moosleemargh was born. I decided that I had to have some positive and normalising representation of my own – not to say that there isn’t any out there – but this was something that I could have control over. I had previously expressed my concerns over representation through writing but this time, I felt that being more visual would resonate better. I wanted other Muslim girls to see my art and feel like they could relate, that they saw themselves in these illustrations. But my relatable content isn’t just exclusive to Muslim women. 

Take the ‘Mismatching Black’ post for example:  

 

Anyone who’s ever tried to pull an all-black outfit together has had the issue of mismatched black tones. This scenario could have been represented by any type of person: a woman or man, Muslim or non-Muslim I chose to represent a veiled woman, just because I couldAt the same time I wanted to prove a point to everyone else. That Muslim women experience the same issues, the same situations and the same interests as anyone else. We are not to be feared and we are not to be excluded. If you see me at a networking event then you best be assured that I am like-minded as you, or at least, share similar goals.  

Moosleemargh never intended to be an Islamic account or even to discuss hijab constantly. That’s why some of my illustrations depict characters without hijab – to show that we’re not constantly wearing it because our lives don’t revolve around it like others might like to assume. This is merely a space to normalise Muslim women through quirky illustrations and to perpetuate the fact that we are not some other-worldly creatures who cannot integrate with western society.  It’s fulfilling as an artist to see Muslim girls engaging with my work as they not only relate to the situation but also the characters portrayed within it.  

For more follow Nasima on Instagram and Tumblr @moosleemargh

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