Grayson Perry 'The Ashford Hijab'
Dimensions: 167cm x 87cm
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This scarf is one of the actual works from an exhibition entitled Who are You? at the National Portrait gallery. Each of the works in the show is an image about the nature of identity, a snapshot taken from the narrative of someone's life. Our sense of ourselves feels constant but our identity is an ongoing performance changed and adapted by our experiences and circumstances. We feel like we are the same person we were years before but we are not.
The scarf depicts Kayleigh Khosravi and her four children who live in Ashford, Kent. perhaps surprisingly to some, Kayleigh represents the most likely group to convert to Islam in the UK. What does Islam offer to a young white woman in her twenties? The answer, I found, appears to be a refuge from the nagging consumer pressures and constant, often sexual, scrutiny of women all pervasive in western society. Conversion also offers a strong and supportive sisterhood within the congregation of the mosque. I have portrayed Kayleigh and her children on the symbolic path from the temple of consumerism that is the Ashford Designer Outlet Centre to the focal point of the Muslim faith at the Grand Mosque in Mecca.