“A selfie is more than just a picture. It’s a product of a moment when one is feeling beautiful and confident.” These are the words spoken by artist Qinza Najm as an explanation of the nature of the new project launched together with Saks Afridi.
According to the Pakistani-American artist duo, “#DamnILookGood is a performance art piece about tolerance, liberation and challenging popular perception”, which started in New York, where the two debuted the project at the Dumbo Arts Festival.
It’s Najm who explains exactly how the idea was born. Not being religious herself, Qinza had never worn a hijab until the moment she decided to try and wear one for a week. She goes on telling how, on the second day of her experiment, a man approached her and started yelling at her, calling her a “f*cking Muslim” and telling her to leave the country with words that weren’t any more flattering.
Apparently, while the veil is stereotypically seen as a symbol of repression, many are not aware of the existence of women – many of them – who wear the hijab by choice. This actually makes the veil quite the opposite for these women – not a symbol of oppression, but rather a way to express their freedom of choice. Afridi goes on explaining how the veil can actually be a very powerful and empowering instrument to be in control of one’s sexuality, without having to deal with the pressure concerning looks exercised by the media.
The aim of #DamnILookGood is to promote tolerance and change the stereotypical perception of the hijab and the niqab. Like all women, the ones wearing the veil by choice have the right to feel beautiful and confident. The video ends with some powerful words: “Flaunt your individuality, don’t let the world decide for you”.
Check out the full #DamnILookGood project.