Purdah

Mariam Magsi’s photographs feature women who observe purdah, which refers to the veiling practices associated with Islam, such as burqa, niqab, and hijab. Through photographs and interviews, Magsi aims to bridge the gap between polarizing views that simplify and erase cultural, religious, historical, and political nuances behind the practice of veiling. These views often are based on assumptions and fail to recognize the human agency of purdah users, especially within the framework of Western culture. Magsi writes, “Somewhere in between are nuanced stories of the diverse Muslims juggling their traditions and contemporary life in a patriarchal world.” By focusing on the individuals, Magsi acknowledges the diverse experiences of purdah users, and invites non-observers to form an understanding that is based on the voices of those who are intimately familiar with this practice.