[Hana] Meryem Meg’s work resonated with me the moment I saw it. Representations of the Middle East, Muslim world and even the South Asian Subcontinent, still to this day remain held by the Colonial Orientalist gaze that attempted to fix them centuries ago. Meryem speaks to us more about how she attempts to subvert the gaze and resist through a different type of power in looking.
Ways of seeing was a project I undertook to allow myself to visually and theoretically explore and communicate the ways in which body language was used to objectify the Woman through colonial Orientalist Painting. Looking at visual ways of hiding and revealing through mark making.
I use creativity as a tool to outline and direct or redirect the gaze, offering a different outlook or visual commentary on some of the most defining works, which sprung in 18-19th C Europe. It is important for me to combat and try to portray a much more justified and realistic representation of the ‘oriental woman’ through my own reality.
I want to bring light and also celebrate the complexity and many different facets of the oriental woman; challenging stereotypes, which were formed through Orientalism and Orientalist painters, continuing to carry these representations through popular culture. I want to underline the reality that is hidden, and contribute to demolishing all idea’s that the oriental women is nothing more than a passive, exotic object of desire, a salve to the avidity of men and unable to have any form of intellectual integrity.
Learning from this I hope to expand the project which started as a personal expression I felt I needed to get out of my system, to a much more community orientated project. I love a statement made by Junot Diaz which goes to say, ” You know how vampires have no reflection in the mirror? If you want to make a human being a monster, Deny them at a cultural level, any reflection of themselves.”
It is extremely crucial to have the ability to represent and communicate self. As a Woman of Muslim African / European background I feel like my work should strive towards that and facilitate a space of debate and deliberation. Whether it addresses the emancipation of the woman within her own “community”, or through a western white dominated lens.
Meryem is a 23 year old Algerian, Bulgarian visual artist based in London. Raised between France and the UK. Her inspiration stems from a love for all ethnical art merged with her urban reality, combining through a passion for print making, bespoke typography and a strategic use of vivid colour combinations.
Graduated with a BA in Graphic design from LCA and most recently with an MA from the University of Arts London. Her passion for race / gender and identity have continually surfaced within her design and artistic practice. Continually striving to celebrate the woman through her art.
You can follow her on Tumblr, buy from her online store, and catch her on Twitter.