The Burqa Issue. OF NOTE Magazine. 2016 The Burqa Issue. OF NOTE magazine. 2016 - Page 6

Mariam Magsi: Imagining the Possibilities of a Hot Red Burqa By Erin Haney metaphorical possibilities. With Magsi’s imagery, Mariam Magsi’s double-consciousness—mindful of where and to whom her work can and cannot burqas reveal shades of the subversive bodies be seen—is a strength. My conversation with underneath. Her subjects are quietly outrageous, the Toronto-based photographer in October, as vivid and embracing, their genders and sexual she was preparing for identities undetermined. a number of upcoming exhibitions, revealed Her portraits, hiding so I am confused, curious, her to be an agile and much desire, confound fascinated, repelled, inspired, witty provocateur. us. They might elicit bemused and aggravated by the burqa…When I place my subjects into the frames in their burqas, it becomes a veil within a veil, a frame within a frame… sympathy, consternation, She marks the gambles anger—they are meant artists often take— to provoke. alienating their family and societies—by drawing In North American out and gesturing to the and European circles, secrets and ambiguities Mariam Magsi her photos spark public of those who are loved. conversations on the She evokes a fascinating freedom to dress, debates intellectual and creative around modesty, and milieu: her parents’ artistic and independent respect for individual versus societal religious professions, the risks taken by lovers in silenced expression (over space, over time.) Magsi has LGBTQI communities in the Middle East, and ties to artists in Pakistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, the possibilities of a hot pink burqa. where interest in her work highlights kindred explorations of gender, femininity and sexuality. Magsi was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, where the prevalence of the burqa and the versions In these societies, supporters and artists know that worn by women and girls are changing. Her such ideas are too provocative to be seen publically. recent and ongoing work on the burqa includes For now, secret messages, stashed under a burqa photographs and public performances that are cloth, might hold the place for futures yet to come. meditations on the garment’s formal qualities and Soldiers of Delusion © Mariam Magsi, 2015. Courtesy of the artist. 6 OF NOTE 7 OF NOTE