Veils

How could I not be moved by the suffer­ing of women under Taliban rule? And yet, the Muslim Other remained veiled by differ­ence and exoti­cism until I came across a state­ment by an Islamic femi­nist, “All women every­where wear the burqa.” I under­stood this to mean that the veil is but an outward symbol of a much more perva­sive real­ity of oppres­sion, one that is global and not just regional. In these ink draw­ings, an anony­mous American survivor of abuse, repres­sion, and rape gestures  beneath her veil. Statistics culled from vari­ous inter­na­tional, national and local sources citing the frequency and sever­ity of attacks on women and girls is burned onto the silk Unryu paper. Bits of poetry, prayers, and terri­fy­ing personal accounts found on random blogs and support sites inter­sperse with the cold data, form­ing a kind of testa­ment of suffer­ing. The fragility of the completed draw­ing is both poetic and heart rending.