My fascination with Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa stems from the historical process of her “naturalization,” whereby a representation of an Italian noblewoman became an icon of France. She was the decor of a despot, a refugee of war, an object of nationalist lust and locus of public protest. The painting has become a bellwether and a site of cultural projection, essentially disconnected from its own story.
In its own way, so is the hijab. Roughly translated as “modesty,” its ancient origins transcend Muslim norms. Whether intended as a sign of freedom for some or seen as a sign of repression for others, the cultures of the hijab are as complex as the contexts in which they are practiced. In contemporary France, the hijab has become a lightning rod about “Frenchness,” a visual threat to the ideals of the so-called secular state.
artinamericamagazine - Amir Baradaran Gives Tourists a Reason to Photograph Famous Art
Amir Baradaran - Frenchising Mona Lisa 2011(00:49)
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