Humor and art can be powerful instruments to shatter stereotypes and end discrimination. In her illustrations, artist Soufeina Hamed is doing just that. She translates everyday issues in and out of the Muslima community into humorous and imaginative illustrations to show that Muslim women’s everyday issues aren’t that different from anyone else’s. In Less Different, Soufeina Hamed uses illustrations that portray her faith and its diversity, and her experiences with prejudice and discrimination. You’ll recognize a few illustrations that are remakes of famous drawings—which Soufeina uses to show that her faith isn’t as exotic as some people think.
“Being Muslima in a western city is not as bad as some people think. In my experience, it makes you somehow more conscientious, more sensitive, and more self-confident at an early age. When I started to cover myself with a hijab, I felt that from then on, I was representing something bigger than me. I was representing a whole community—a community that is as diverse as the humanity itself.
From this feeling came a kind of pressure to justify, to “upgrade,“ the image of my faith. This pressure was connected with annoyance and exhaustion. I felt I always had to be aware of my unintentional representative function. And then, I found art. Art and humour became a wonderful instrument to express anything I wanted. I began showing my life as a “Western Muslima,” thereby trying to make others get to know my faith and to help them realize that it’s less strange and exotic than they maybe thought.
My work became more and more diverse in its message. Sometimes I share everyday prejudices to make people realize that discrimination still exists. Sometimes I show simple ordinary life events everyone can relate to. Then I deal with problems within the Muslim community, or I draw remakes of famous portraits by Lichtenstein or Monet by just adding the hijab to play with the “flair“ of it. My work is inspired by my faith, by displeasure and joy, by misunderstandings, and interesting conversations: by life itself.”
About the Artist
For more information about Soufeina Hamed: http://tuffix.deviantart.com/