Us/Them – Phase I

© Wendy Marijnissen

Here is my latest work that I’m very happy to share with you.

Us/Them is a new project I’ve been working on for a couple of months now and that I’ll continue to work on for the rest of the year.  It’s a project on the veil and muslim women in Belgium.

The ‘veil’ has become a very contested and loaded symbol in Belgium.
Discussions are near impossible and very polarized.
Too often the story remains ‘Us versus Them’ with communities that don’t know each other and hardly interact.
The negative and often one-sided image in the media doesn’t help and feeds the prejudice that already exists within Belgian society.

© Wendy Marijnissen – Extreme right political party Vlaams Belang started their campaign for the local elections with a poster of a woman in bikini wearing a burqa. The slogan read ‘Freedom or Islam? Dare to choose!’, presenting Islam as the biggest threat to Flemish society. Aartselaar, Belgium, 2012

Us/Them – Phase I is a collection of images of veils and headscarfs that I come across on a regular basis. The veil seems to be omnipresent and not linked exclusively to Muslim women at all.
On posters or as graffiti in the city, in churches and museums, at thrift stores and in fashion magazines, …

The veil and the act of veiling has been a part of both Western and Eastern societies for millennia, from the aristocratic women of ancient Greece to brides worldwide up to this day. Yet, it’s still perceived as a threat, a sign of provocation. It doesn’t make people feel comfortable when they see women with headscarves in the streets, tram or behind the counter of a shop…

Us/Them – Phase I is a small collection of images that shows the veil and head coverings in many variations that  come across in my daily surroundings. Phase II and III are still works in progress and will follow later on in the year.

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