Durrah Alsaif is a visual artist working with sculpture, photography, performance, and video whose artistic practice revolves around sociopolitical issues. Originally from Saudi Arabia and now living in Canada, she is interested in the Middle Eastern experience in the West, particularly as it relates to cultural identity and perception. Through her practice, Alsaif explores the cultural identity between the East and the West while challenging Western perceptions of women in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries. Her work often draws attention to the blurring of lines between culture, tradition, and religion in the Middle East.
In Qimash, Alsaif investigates this subject matter, which is considered culturally taboo in her home country. Initially taking place as a performance and now reformatted as a series of photographs designed for a public artwork, Qimash explores the symbolic action of adorning oneself with the Islamic religious garment worn by women—the hijab—while her performance juxtaposes ownership of cultural identity with absurdity, discomfort, and immobility. Through this cumulative gesture, Alsaif urges us to consider the symbolic weight of the hijab and its nuanced significance to the individual women that wear them.
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