Cherchez la femme
Wig, Burqa, Wimple
Exhibition Cherchez la Femme
Headlines and swimwear, headscarves and demonstrations, fashion shows and papal audiences – how much religiosity secular societies can tolerate was explored in this exhibition. In the 1950s and 1960s, style icons like Grace Kelly wore the headscarf as a fashion accessory. Today, religious context is the main reason why women cover their hair. These traditions go back to ancient times, when status and fashion determined which women were veiled. Hair was still regarded as too intimate to be shown publicly for many cultures.
Today, women in Judaism and Islam find new ways to combine their religious traditions with a modern lifestyle. Conflicts in masculine societies are inevitable; the boundaries of what is acceptable are under constant negotiation.
The Cherchez la femme exhibition presented a wide range of ideas and opinions regarding head and body coverings. Traditional ideas were juxtaposed with current fashion, religion with secular societies.
How do those who are often ignored in the heat of the debate describe their own situation? Whether complying with a strict Islam, or secular Muslims, religion as a private matter or wearing a headscarf as a sign of cultural self-determination – diverse women’s voices were heard in the exhibition. Rounding out the exhibition were works by Jewish and Muslim artists. Each of these women deals in her own way with the forces at work between tradition and participation in society and current social discourses.
A Taste of the Exhibition in Pictures
Curators: Miriam Goldmann, Naomi Lubrich
Exhibition design: büroberlin