TItle: Muslim Woman on Vacation
Material: Oil on canvas
Size: 178 x 110 cm
ABOUT: Muslim Woman on Vacation
This is a portrait of a woman I met in Malaysia in 2008. I saw her at a boat terminal in Langkawi where she was on vacation with her husband. I found her deeply fascinating and asked if I could take her picture. She referred me to her husband who was supposed to decide. Somewhat puzzled, I then ask her husband, if I could take her picture and told him she was beautiful and I wanted to paint her portrait. He shook his hand, meaning, so-so, and said yes. Meaning, she wasn´t the most beautiful of women! She posed for me in the galleria of the boat terminal. While I was making the painting I couldn´t make up my mind about the burka. I read all kinds of articles on the subject matter. Still to me, it was clothes, clothes, and clothes. At the time, the painting was finished, I felt a transformation taking place. It felt like it was me inside the burka. All stories about clothes, with meanings connected to them, point to the person wearing them. The Burka is just the most obvious of clothes to hide behind and it is provoking. Standing in the passport control I deliberately placed myself behind a person in a Burka to see what will happen. The woman approached the passport controller, who asks her to unveil her face. Both smiling toward each other. I kind of smiled too.