'Princess Hijab' Graffitis Paris Metro

Arresting manipulation ignites debate

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 11, 2010 2:45 AM CST

(Newser) – While France was debating its burka ban, graffiti artist "Princess Hijab" continued her jolting work covering up women—and men—in Paris metro ads with painted veils. The mysterious artist covers faces and sometimes entire bodies in black. She has dodged easy classification in decidedly elusive interviews, and it's not entirely clear if she's attacking Muslim discrimination, Islam, hyper-consumerism, the sexualization of women across cultures—or all of it, and more. She refers to her work as "hijabization" or "niqab intervention." The princess-with-a-black-marker first made her mark in 2006 on an album poster, "veiling" popular French singer Diam's, who, ironically, has since converted to Islam.

Hijab's identity is unknown, and it's not clear if she's Muslim, or even if she is actually a she (the artist never reveals any skin in interviews or photos). "The veil has many hidden meanings, it can be as profane as it is sacred, consumerist and sanctimonious, from Arabic Gothicism to the condition of man," she tells the Guardian. "The interpretations are numerous, and it carries great symbolism on race, sexuality, and real and imagined geography." For more of the work, click here.

Princess Hijab 'niqabs' a Virgin Air ad.
Princess Hijab 'niqabs' a Virgin Air ad.   (Flicker)
What does it mean?
What does it mean?   (?sittiealiah)
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Princess Hijab hits the metro.   (AlJazeeraEnglish)

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