Swindle Magazine: Muslim Girl Power

Muslimah Media Watch thanks Krystina for the tip!

Swindle magazine is a “pop culture and lifestyle publication,” that features “luscious fashion spreads, artist profiles or social & political issues around the globe,” according to its website.

Their newest issue (#16, “The London Issue”) looks at Muslim women on London. In “London’s Muslim Girl Power,” written by Naomi Colvin, she explains that, although Muslim women in London are perceived as voiceless and passive, in reality this is a very active group in the community. However, the latter half of her article seemed more geared toward promoting all Muslims as active, rather than just Muslim women. The online article doesn’t give an additional proof of Muslim women’s active role in British society or examples of what Muslim women are doing, which irked me.

The other article pertinent to our attention was Catherine Wagley’s article on British Muslim artist Sarah Maple (pictured below). Maple, who grew up Muslim in the U.K., struggled to find her Islamic identity, and works through it with her art. Her art highlights cultural, religious, and political issues as well: according to the article, Maple won the Saatchi Prize of ₤3,000 with a series of campaign posters that highlighted different identities (I.e., “Vote for me or you’re sexist;” “Vote for me or you’re racist;” “Vote for me or you’re Islamophobic;” etc).

Her painting “Blue, Badges, Burka” is Swindle’s cover image for its latest issue, and more of her work is featured in the magazine and on her website.

Images of Maple’s art from Swindle.

*Editor’s Note: We may come back to Sarah Maple’s artwork in the future, and so we wished to simply highlight her profile in Swindle.

  • Melinda

    I’m not totally clear. What point do these pictures seek to make?

  • Anonymous

    “I’m questioning the way some Muslims interpret the faith. I’m not saying we should all go and break the rules. I’m just saying that if you’re going to be a Muslim and pray every day, that doesn’t necessarily make you a good person…”~Maplelol! How timely, weren’t we just talking about that?Oh yeah “kairos” is timeliness. Anyhoo, Swindle’s selections certainly don’t illustrate that theme. The bunny ears on the hijab of salat aren’t any indication of “good” or “bad” iman. WTpudding?As an art-school dropout I am qualified to say this is another example of a talented yet naive artist being used by the scene. Another running theme I’m seeing here amongst Muslimahs being charioted about by the media and whatnot-”I’m not saying we should all go and break the rules.”–But they are. Not just Maple, but others–scroll down MMW home page. Though the banana is really funny, it is from my belief system that I don’t create images of lifeforms or hang them in my home. Another fundamental aspect of our shared belief is that we don’t expose our awrah unless in emergency–yes, I know we don’t have a commonly agreed upon definition for awrah.Love and Peace,~Brooke

  • Broken Mystic

    The banana picture is just utterly repulsive. Not just because she’s wearing hijaab and/or Muslim. Hijaab or no Hijaab.. Muslim or not.. she’s a woman. She is being sexualized.I know the artist is a Muslim woman, but still, I don’t see the point.

  • Melinda

    Re: banana paintingGood, I wasn’t the only one who read it that way.I’ve looked at her website (why no link posted in the article? sarahmaple.com), and the pictures seems to be using Islam for the shock and entertainment value. It’s arguable that there’s some deeper message behind it (like bunny-eared prayer as “going through an act doesn’t mean you’re taking it seriously”). But the way a lot of it comes off — especially if it’s for a non-Muslim audience — is, “Haha, aren’t those Muslims ridiculous?” The fact it’s done by a Muslim woman makes it seem more acceptable to laugh at.

  • Anonymous

    She’s eating a banana. My two-year old just did the same thing-she also smeared it all over her body. The context has a lot to do with the audience’s perception, which is why I think the banana picture is funny. It seems to make fun of the viewer-not the banana eater. The bunny ears, I’m on the fence about that one–gotta think about it. Where’s Saha, PM, and Izzy Mo?I’m gonna go knock on their blogs, inshallah…Love and Peace,~Brooke

  • Duniya

    Hmm…I don’t think I find this offensive really. It’s quite interesting. I think I’d need to see more of her work and know a little more about her work. I feel like I don’t know enough to make any clear judgements.

  • Saha

    hmmm, I think it’s a given that the banana picture is supposed to be interpreted sexually and it annoys me for that reason…at the same time, I think it’s quite interesting because it’s difficult to form a definite opinion about it. Who is the subject of the joke? At first you think it is the hijabi woman, but then you realise that it is you as the viewer and that is what makes it interesting. At first it really revolted me, because I thought it was another crass attack on Muslim women as supposedly either non-sexual or hyper-sexual beings. But then I realised that what it does is just bring all of this to the fore, it doesn’t make any judgments of it’s own. It’s actually very clever,not just at a stupid joke level.

  • Natalia

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and a banana is just a banana. Seriously. I’m eating one right now!I think these pictures are meant to say something about the *viewer* Certainly, they way they spoke to me told me a little something about myself. They do beautifully.

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  • http://www.troid.org harry kay

    Not to be funny but pic are not from islam, but back to the topic these pictures are a joke and its narrated in many hadeeth that a time will come were ppl will mock us and we will be in large numbers etc and the reason is we will fear death and love the dunyha. this is just another publicity stunt for this girl, is she even muslim?? may Allah put some fear into her hart. my advice is read up on this subject.

    [This comment has been edited to fall within moderation guidelines.]

  • http://idon'tknow! a true artist

    these actions aren’t good at all for several reasons !

    First , it’s not art at all !
    Second ,it hurt others people feelings .
    Third , It could be a spark to start a new sreies of accidents we all “despite our roots and believes” don’t want it !
    and the MOST important it’s NOT GOOD FOR A WOMEN TO DO THIS .!!! as a women i don’t like to see a women look like this !

    always remember the rule : your freedom’s limits end where other freedom limits started !!

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