Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Uncovering The Veil

I was up at a ridiculously early hour to have breakfast with Laura. We ate our Frosties in the conservatory looking out onto the garden with the sun rising above the evergreens at the end of the garden. We got ready and I dropped her off at her dance lessons, then I headed into town.
My destination was L'Institut Francais D'Ecosse ( off Queensferry Street to see an exhibition entitled Uncovering the Veil artist by Anna-Lisa Drew.

Through the medium of hair and photography, Anna-Lisa explores the arguments for and against the ban on the wearing of hijab in French schools. I found it fascinating and educational as I perused the images on display and read through the folders of newspaper cutouts and explanatory notes behind her inspiration for doing the work.

Many of the images were symmetrical patterns of hair, arranged in such a fashion to be almost hypnotic to look at. Others were smaller and at first glance looked like carefully wound and manipulated strands of hair - which of course they were. But on looking through the "third eye", one could make sense of the Islamic inspired images and they started to take on forms of their, almost like a cartoonists brush might - but with hair.

There was also a headscarf she designed which had one of her larger patterns designed on it, called Compromise, which I took as a real challenge of Western attitudes to the wearing of the scarf. She made a great point when detailing the reasons the women wear these garments and to their justification for wanting to. It boils down freedom of self and although Ana-Lisa argues on both sides, I came away with the impression she was totally against the ban. It is hard to disagree because she does make a compelling case against the ban.

On the introduction sheet pinned to the wall at the entrance, Anna-Lisa made the point, "shaving the hair can be symbolic of a mourning or a disenchantment to the material world." And as I stood back to look at a portrait of a woman's face, with her hair wrapped around her head to cover her mouth and nose, I caught a glimpse of my own reflection in the glass of the frame and couldn't resist a chuckle at the irony. Here was I; a shiny-headed Western bloke standing in a gallery with an overwhelming emphasis on hair and it's many meanings and expressions.

Thus, this exhibition not only made me more aware of an important issue, and not only did it entertain me, but it made me look at myself from a new perspective for several important moments.

I had time after viewing the exhibition to pop into HMV for a wee scan of CD's. Delighted and excited to see a sale was on, I parted with some cash and swapped it for a new Nirvana album of remastered versions of their classics. I also got The Story of The Clash Volume 1 and Bad Manners new album called Stupidity.

After collecting Laura from dancing and making lunch for everyone we took a drive out to the dump to ditch all our bags of rubble and garden refuse. Later on Gail went out for a few drinks with her pal and to see the Rab Howat band play at Bannermans. I spent the day in the garden doing more work on the lawn and surrounding flowerbeds. The earth needed a good seeing to and turning it took longer than I thought. I also had to trim the lawn and before I new it the time had passed 6pm.

I made dinner for me and Laura and it was half past eight at night before I was able to get the laptop out. I tuned the television into At The Races, which it had been most of the day in the background, and half-watched the Kentucky Derby races as I got to work on Hunting Jack.

The twists are now entwined on the paper plan, and it is time to write the concluding month.
Colin 9:32 pm


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