New Criticals

Princess Hijab as Queer Interventionalist: Part One

This is the story of a young woman fighting every day for a noble cause: she wants to “hijabize” advertising. [She] knows that L’Oréal and Dark&Lovely have been killing her little by little. She feels that the veil is no longer that white. She feels contaminated […]With her spray paint and black marker pen, she is out to hijabize advertising. Even Kate Moss is targeted. Princess Hijab knows all about visual terrorism! [1]

These are the opening lines of the online manifesto of French, graffiti artist, Princess Hijab, who began paste-ing her first “hijab-ads” (alleged self-portraits according to some bloggers) around Paris metro stations in 2006, before moving to her signature tagging, or “hijabizing” aesthetic in 2007. Stealthily tagging large, designer clothing advertisements in the metro stations with black headscarves that menacingly drip and ooze beyond the bounds of their material reality, the hijab worn by Muslim women as a sign of sexual modesty and religious devotion, is wielded as a prop within the artist’s fight against the “visual terrorism” of Western culture.