Playing with powerful cultural symbols—swastikas, clenched fists, Ronald McDonald—is the main avocation of the guerrilla street artist. A Paris provocateur has made a splash by appropriating a potent and mystifying motif for her work: the hijab. She calls herself Princess Hijab, and her main MO is to paint black veils on people in billboard and poster ads.
When her work first began appearing in 2006, observers were mystified, reports Bitch (Winter 2009), with many jumping to the conclusion that the artist must be an Islamic activist or a right-wing agitator. It grew only more confounding when she revealed to a German newspaper that she wasn’t a Muslim.
“People are confused by me,” Princess Hijab tells Bitch. “Some say I am pro-feminist, some say I am antifeminist; some say I am pro-Islam, others that I am anti-Islam. It’s all very interesting—but at the end of the day, I am above all an artist.”
Of all the labels attached to her, she finds the ultraconservative tag the most vexing. “My work supports right-wing radicalism like Taxi Driver supports cabbies,” she says. “I’m using the hijab for myself.”
See Princess Hijab’s latest work on her blog at http://yaplog.jp/princesshijab.