Ever wanted to try on a burqa? Now is your chance. According to the LA Times, artist Marie Rim is inviting passersby to experience the controversial clothing for themselves with "Burka Fittings Across America," a roving pop-up shop now touring the US.
In the past few months, Rim, a 34-year-old gay artist from Philadelphia, has inspired 150 Americans in 21 states to confront their reflection while wearing the garment -- which is, from the photos, actually a niqab with a burqa (which covers the body but reveals the eyes). According to the artist, gazing upon oneself in the mirror is just as powerful as actually wearing the piece: "People respond to the disorientation, the sense of blurred identity seeing yourself in the garment of another culture," she told the LA Times.
Annie, an elementary school teacher who participated in Denver, recalled on Rim's website: "Emotionally, the word 'oppression' hit me immediately. To be shapeless, completely covered was odd." However, another participant reported feeling "protected and safe" while wearing it.In a phone interview with The Huffington Post, Rim explained that although her project began during the same period as Arab Spring, the uprising was not what inspired the piece:
"I first became interested in Middle Eastern culture, really, when I saw the movie 'Circumstance.' [The] Arab Spring was going on at the time but it wasn't really on my radar, I'm embarrassed to say. I reached out to the burqa because I wanted to relate to the female characters in the movie. I really want to see if this art project can inspire empathy and bridge cultural divides."
What do you think of this project in comparison with a recent exhibition by Naneci Yurdagül entitled "Burqoi," which forced viewers to wear the garment upon entering the exhibition? Take a look in the slideshow below and let us know your thoughts in the comments:
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